Some restrictions return as coronavirus cases continue to rise – .

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Some restrictions return as coronavirus cases continue to rise – .


New restrictions on public life came into effect at midnight Tuesday, limiting access to major indoor events and instituting a series of new fines for those breaking health rules, as Israel struggles to contain a recent increase in coronavirus infections.

As part of the new orders, the so-called Green Pass system, first used earlier this year, will be reinstated for indoor events attended by more than 100 people.

Access to these gatherings is now limited to people who have been vaccinated or cured, or who present a negative COVID-19 PCR test carried out within 72 hours of the event. A rapid virus test can also be used if done within the previous 24 hours. Although gatherings are not limited in size, face masks are mandatory except for eating or drinking.

Sites are required to have a dedicated coronavirus monitor who ensures rules are followed and are required to post signs that they are operating under Green Pass rules, or face a fine of 3,000. NIS ($ 911).

Locations that have both indoor and outdoor areas are considered indoor sites under the rules.

Participants who break the rules will be fined 1,000 NIS ($ 303) while site operators may be fined 10,000 NIS for failing to verify that participants have the correct entry permits.

Police and local authority inspectors will check venues hosting events that fall under the rules to ensure they are in compliance.

Aside from the rules for indoor events, all businesses – including stores – are prohibited from allowing entry to anyone not wearing a face mask. Violators will be fined 1,000 NIS.

A fine of NIS 500 is already in place for those entering indoor public spaces without wearing a face mask.

People wear face masks in Jerusalem on July 19, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90)

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Security, the police will work with inspectors from the Union of Local Authorities in Israel coordination group to enforce the rules.

The Jerusalem Municipality said on Tuesday that from next week its inspectors will begin actively enforcing the indoor mask rule, as ordered by health officials.

“Although the number of patients in Jerusalem is low, in order to keep the number low and keep Jerusalem green, we all need to follow the guidelines and make sure to wear a mask,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said in a statement. , referring to the Health Department’s color coding system for infected areas, green being the least infected.

“At this point, we need to act responsibly and obey direction,” Lion said.

The municipality said that until next Monday, it will focus its efforts on informing and warning the public to obey the rules, and then begin to fully enforce them.

Last week, Brigadier. Gen. (res.) Amos Ben-Avraham has been appointed to oversee the headquarters of the virus enforcement ministry, which will coordinate activities between police, local authorities and the Israel Airport Authority.

The new regulations were drawn up last week by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy Orna Barbivai and Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz. They were then approved by the coronavirus cabinet, a group of ministers tasked with formulating virus policy.

Authorities are also reportedly considering other moves, with the number of cases continuing to rise. This could include applying the Green Pass system to all indoor venues, regardless of size, including businesses and restaurants, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

There were 1,379 new cases of the virus diagnosed on Monday, the highest daily number of cases since mid-March, according to figures from the Department of Health. There were 8,593 patients infected with the virus in the country, including 59 in serious condition, the ministry said.

A technician takes swabs for COVID-19, at a testing center run by the Tel Aviv Municipality in cooperation with Tel haShomer Hospital, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2021. (Miriam Alster / Flash90)

Israel has seen coronavirus cases rise sharply over the past month, after nearly eradicating the disease and removing almost all restrictions in May and June.

Health officials have linked the recent spike in infections in Israel to travelers who brought new variants of the virus from overseas and failed to properly quarantine themselves after arriving.

The resurgence of the coronavirus in Israel has been largely attributed to the spread of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India and is believed to be twice as contagious as the original COVID strain.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, 854,434 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Israel and 6,452 people have died from the virus, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.

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