The Israeli government has passed new measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown. Starting April 25, small stores (not located in malls or major shopping centers), barbershops and beauty salons will be able to re-open.
This seems to be possibly in preparation for the Ramadan festivities. The Israeli government is also allowed group prayer, the partial reopening of the economy, and certain stores.
However, through a conference call, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in discussions with leaders from Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, and New Zealand. The various practices to control the widespread pandemic were discussed. In the discussions, it was concluded that the use of the face mask would be made compulsory for everyone above the age of 7 years. Additionally, the Israeli government has also approved a 200 shekel (about $50) fine to anyone who is not wearing a face mask, even without a warning. The mask usage has been made mandatory in all public spaces.
The coronavirus cases have reduced over the last few days, making it possible for the government to open the country towards Ramadan celebrations. It took military intervention to get people to adhere to the social distancing and stay-at-home directive given by the government seriously. A particular community of ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlement in Bnei Brak was reportedly not following the lockdown guidelines making it difficult to contain the widespread of the virus.
Since the military intervention, the rate of new infections has been halved at this coronavirus hot spot in Israel. Strangely, this community does not use mobile phones and the internet and therefore were not aware of the pandemic itself. A rapid spread of the virus earlier this month leading health experts to fear as many as a thirds of the population of about 200,000 could be infected.
Headed by retired Col. Avi Cohen, who spent three decades in cyberwarfare hunting terrorists, the area has had to be sensitized with announcements on the loudspeaker. The numbers of infections have been thus brought under control. A recent drive of 10,900 tests was conducted to assess the number of infected cases in the area. Additionally, rigorous contact-tracing was underway.
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