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Israel Begins Second Phase of Lifting Lockdown Restrictions

November 5, 2020
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Half a million pupils in year one to four returned to school yesterday (illustrative)

Thursday, 5 November 2020 | What happened: Israel has begun lifting coronavirus restrictions on public activities as the number of new cases continues to fall.

  • Half a million pupils in year one to four returned to school yesterday, following a break of a month and a half. Children will be divided into pods of up to 20 and will be required to wear masks during lessons and break time.
  • [Bed and breakfasts], hair salons, beauty parlors and driving instructors were allowed to reopen [Sunday], as were nature reserves and national parks to the public.
  • Synagogues also reopened, provided that no more than ten people assemble indoors and no more than 20 assemble outside. Weddings and other celebrations are also now permitted under similar restrictions.
  • According to the Health Ministry, there were 676 new cases confirmed over Sunday out of 21,115 tests, representing a positivity rate of 3.1%. There are currently 372 patients in serious condition, 170 of them on ventilators.
  • Also yesterday, clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine on human patients began. The vaccine was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research and the trial will be conducted on 80 volunteers.

Context: On Sunday, the Health Ministry revealed that for the first time since July 2, Israel has less than 10,000 active coronavirus cases. Since the start of the pandemic, 2,554 people have died.

  • While some businesses could open [Sunday], many street-front shops were instructed to remain closed for another week, causing further anger and distress for hundreds of small businesses that face a battle to survive.

Looking ahead: Following its initial stage, the coronavirus vaccine trial will be expanded to 960 people in December. Should those trials succeed, a third stage with 30,000 volunteers is scheduled for April/May. The third phase will also take place overseas, in a country with a high coronavirus infection rate. If all goes well, the vaccine could be available by the end of next summer.

Posted on November 5, 2020

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on November 2, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog/unsplash.com

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