Ben-Gurion Airport to be closed from October 1-14.

Police check the ID of a driver, at a checkpoint put in place during Israel's second lockdown, September 2020. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Police check the ID of a driver, at a checkpoint put in place during Israel’s second lockdown, September 2020. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)


The government overnight voted to tighten coronavirus restrictions and extend the lockdown another three weeks. A decision was also made to close Ben-Gurion Airport from October 1-14.

“The justification is equality,” Head of Public Health Sharon Alroy-Preis said Thursday morning in an interview with KAN News. She was speaking about the closure of the airport. “People in Israel feel they have restrictions, and some people have money and can buy a plane ticket. From a health point of view, there is a risk in flying because [planes] are crowded and closed.”

Passengers will still be able to enter the country, so long as they adhere to Israel’s rules upon returning, such as isolating.

The government confirmed its decision to limit gatherings to 20 people in open spaces within one kilometer from home, and added restrictions on gathering in sukkahs. The Sukkot holiday begins Friday at sundown.

Now, people will be forbidden from hosting non-family members in their sukkahs; the offense will be punishable with a NIS 500 fine.

Moreover, the government decided that people must keep two meters from one another even in outdoor gatherings of 20. The Police, they said, will be able to enforce that as well.

Finally, people now will not be able to travel wherever they want to purchase essential products or obtain essential services. Instead, this will only be allowed when the products or services are not available within a kilometer from home.

In general, fines are expected to go up – or at least that is what is under consideration right now.

At Wednesday’s coronavirus cabinet meeting, Prof. Ronni Gamzu suggested increasing fines across the board. Among the proposed fines: increasing fines on events and parties and on opening schools from NIS 5,000 to 50,000; breaking isolation from NIS 5,000 to 10,000; and failing to wear a mask in a public space from NIS 500 to NIS 1,000.
The new restrictions, which were disseminated overnight, come against the backdrop of an expected increase in new patients.

As more screenings have resumed since the Yom Kippur fast day, the Health Ministry reported some 8,919 new patients on Thursday, with 13% of those tested being positive.

There were 810 people in serious condition, among them 206 who were intubated. The death toll hit 1,571.

The sector with the highest infection rate to date is the ultra-Orthodox. On Thursday, top rabbis called on their followers to adhere to directives in order to stay safe.

In her interview with KAN, Alroy-Preis said that Health Ministry officials are “meeting with leading people in ultra-Orthodox society, trying to see how we can get information and what assistance we can give. It is difficult to do home isolation when you are with 12 people in a 70-meter apartment.”

It was reported on Thursday that 1,200 more people were diagnosed with coronavirus in Bnei Brak in the last day and almost 1,000 in Jerusalem.

She also noted that she does not believe in herd immunity nor that it exists in the ultra-Orthodox community. She also said that there is new evidence that reinfection with coronavirus could be possible.

Alroy-Preis added that in general, the public is adhering to the lockdown restrictions less this time that in the spring.

All the new restrictions will be voted on by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Thursday. The Knesset has one day to decide on them. After that, they take effect immediately.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post