Benjamin Netanyahu warns of new restrictions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that new restrictions will be re-imposed if the coronavirus spread in the country continues, after most of the lockdown rules had been lifted.

Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Netanyahu told his Ministers that there was a steep increase in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The coronavirus is not behind us,” said Netanyahu.

“In order to know if there is a real trend change, we will review our next steps over the next few days and if needed we will change the policy accordingly,” he said.

On Saturday, Netanyahu addressed the nation and warned that “there has been a general loosening in discipline”.

He urged people to wear masks and keep social distancing.

On Friday, Israel recorded 115 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, the highest daily increase since the beginning of May, according to official figures by the Health Ministry.

At least 78 of them were students and staff members at the Hebrew Gymnasium, a prestigious high school in Jerusalem.

The outbreak was diagnosed some ten days after the school was re-opened.

Israel has lifted over the past two weeks most of the lockdown rules, including re-opening of schools, kindergartens, shops, swimming pools, restaurants and cafes.

As of Monday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Israel stood at 17,071, with 285 deaths.

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