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Coronavirus in Israel: Deaths near 5,000 as gov’t meets on lockdown exit

CM 04/02/2021

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Israel’s lockdown is supposed to end Friday at 7 a.m. but the government is only now meeting to decide on the country’s next steps for the battle against coronavirus.A cabinet meeting originally set for Wednesday was pushed off twice, was rescheduled for early Thursday afternoon and then again delayed until 3 p.m. If the government fails to meet and make decisions, the lockdown will expire and businesses will be allowed to reopen.The Health Ministry, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said it will push the government to keep the country in its current lockdown until Sunday at midnight. Then, the ministry proposed an outline to reopen the country gradually and in three phases, which would be triggered by an improvement in infection rate, vaccination rate and serious patients.In the first phase, movement restrictions will be lifted, younger children will return to school and some workplaces would be allowed to reopen. In order for this to happen, the ministry requires two million people vaccinated with both shots, including 80% of those over the age of 50, an R rate inferior to one and less than 1,000 serious patients.In the second phase, sectors considered at low risk which used to operate under the “purple ribbon” standards would resume their activities through the “green label” that the authorities are developing for people who got the vaccines. For this phase, three million people vaccinated with both shots, including 90% of those over the age of 50, an R rate inferior close to one and stable less than 800 serious patients are required.In the third phase, also sectors considered at high risk will be allowed to open through the “green label.” For this to happen, the ministry envisions four million people vaccinated with both shots, including 95% of those over the age of 50, an R rate inferior close to one and a stable and acceptable number of serious patients.Most figures however, are unlikely to be reached by Sunday.

Some 7,385 new cases of the virus were diagnosed on Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported Thursday morning. Out of over 85,000 tests which about 8.9% returned a positive result. Both figures mark a decrease from the previous day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,947 had passed away from the virus, 59 of whom in the previous 24 hours. There are 76,896 active cases in the country. Some 1,768 patients are hospitalized, and 1,103 patients are in serious condition, 315 of whom are intubated.As of Thursday morning, all Israelis over the age of 16 are eligible to be vaccinated. So far 3,298,233 individuals have received the first dose, while 1,906,942 have received the second dose.Overall about 35% of the nation’s population has already been vaccinated, but after data released by the Health Ministry shows a steady and high rate of infection and significant vaccination-rate disparities among residents in different parts of the country.While in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba over 40% of the residents have been inoculated, in several other cities, the response has been far worse: in Jerusalem only 21% of the residents have received at least one shot, in Bnai Brak 15%.While the infection rate remains high, authorities have said that they are ready to start opening up the country due to the social and economic toll it is having on society.The Health Ministry, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said it will push the government to keep the country in its current lockdown until Sunday at midnight. Ahead of the meeting, health officials were expected to present a staged plan that differentiates between what will open in red and orange cities versus yellow and green ones.According to the ministry’s original plan, preschoolers, kindergarteners, first through fourth graders and 11th and 12th graders would return to school on Sunday in yellow and green cities.  The ministry is reportedly debating how to handle schools in orange and red cities. One idea was to roll out the testing pilot program it successfully tested in a number of high schools earlier this year in these areas. This would mean testing students and teachers several times per week to keep infection out of the classrooms.Ministry officials, however, met Thursday morning and sources in the ministry said that any final plan would be agreed on between the Health and Education ministries, including the final date that classrooms will open.If schools in red and orange areas remain closed, that means some 60% of students would continue learning at home.In any scenario, gatherings will be limited to 10 people outside and five people inside, as they are now.Blue and White ministers opposed several aspects of the ministry’s plan and said they plan to push to open on Friday.According to the party’s plan, the 1,000-m. limit will be lifted Friday morning, and one-on-one services and takeaway would resume. Some bed-and-breakfasts would also already open up.
Then, on Sunday, businesses that are not open to the public would resume, as well as professional sports. Nature reserves and national parks would also be open to the public once again.In the Blue and White plan, early childhood education would resume on Sunday in full.The government is also expected to discuss the closure of the borders and the skies, which are due to expire on Sunday.At the moment, Israelis cannot enter or leave the countries expect for very specific urgent circumstances and with a personal authorization from a newly formed governmental committee.
Netanyahu himself announced Thursday he would postpone his planned trip to the United Arab Emirates in light of the closure of the skies.A petition to allow Israelis stranded abroad to return home regardless of their circumstances was filed to the High Court of Justice on Wednesday. Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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