Emergency situation' in Israel as Netanyahu weighs new restrictions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a protective face mask, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on May 31, 2020. (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN / X90084 / AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that more wide-ranging measures may be necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as infections numbers climb fast in the country.

“We are in the midst of a renewed attack of the coronavirus, a very strong attack that is increasing and spreading both around the world and here as well,” Netanyahu said at a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to an English version of the transcript.

The cabinet would meet again on Monday to consider reimposing national anti-virus restrictions, he said.

New infections over a 24-hour period passed the 1,000-mark for the first time on Friday. Nearly 30,000 have been infected since the outbreak began, of which 330 have died according to official figures.

READ ALSO: Israel extends entry ban for tourists, foreigners until Aug 1

As the numbers rose, the government had already brought back in restrictions on larger gatherings, saying they had to be limited to 50 people in places of prayer, halls, bars and clubs. Previously the limit had been 250.

In other closed venues, the limit is 20 people.

Netanyahu said the “emergency situation” required a new way of approaching decision-making in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

“We cannot approach Knesset legislation … as if everything was normal,” he said. “We want to advance both the means to make decisions and decision-making on a different scale and magnitude” in order to combat the virus, he said without specifying any details of what this would involve.


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