Israelis will spend yet more time under lockdown after ministers approved a late one-week extension to restrictions after a record month of deaths.
Despite a vaccination programme that has proven to be a model for countries everywhere, a third of all Israelis to have died of coronavirus died in January 2021.
According to Health Ministry data, 1,433 people died last month, bringing the total death toll to 4,796 – an incredible percentage that led the cabinet to act.
Alongside extending the country’s internal lockdown, lawmakers also extended the travel ban to and from Israel, until midnight on 7 February, and increased fines for those violating lockdown restrictions, up to £2,216.
Police were also given the power to issue closure orders against institutions ignoring the lockdown law, but despite this many schools and yeshivas reportedly opened their doors in Israel’s strictly-Orthodox areas, where the Health Ministry said infection rates were running at around 20 percent.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Charedi Jews attended the funerals in Jerusalem of two prominent rabbis, again ignoring laws to stop the spread of the virus.
It comes as Israeli authorities gave the Palestinian Authority (PA) up to 5,000 Pfizer vaccines to protect Palestinian medics, following a recommendation from Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon.
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