Weekend images from Tel Aviv portrayed a city returning to life, even though Israel is still in the midst of its third nationwide lockdown.
Government officials indicated on Sunday that the lockdown would need to be extended another week, as Israel nears 4,000 COVID-19 related deaths and the daily rate of new infections remains over 8,000.
At the same time, over 25 percent of Israelis, and just about all of the at-risk population, have received at least test first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Estimates are that Israel will be able to fully reopen for business by March.
Given the success of the vaccine drive, a lot of folks no longer see the point of remaining locked down.
But officials continue to warn that Israel’s health care system can not handle a major spike in infections, even if we are approaching the end of the Corona crisis.
As such, the Israel Police have been ordered to vigorously enforce the lockdown regulations. Over the weekend, officers issued more than 8,000 COVID-related tickets.
- 6,869 tickets were given to Israelis who were out of their house for unauthorized reasons. Israelis are currently permitted to go outside for sport (though only up to one kilometer from their homes), to buy food or medicine, or if they are an “essential worker.”
- 1,118 tickets were given to those caught not wearing a mask in public
- 112 tickets were given to those who had broken quarantine (people who had come into contact with an infected person and were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days)
Israel Today spoke last week with local medical experts who insist that nationwide lockdowns are ineffective, unnecessary, and ultimately doing more damage than the virus itself.
They decried the fact that so many of our national responses to the pandemic are being decided by politicians, rather than qualified professionals.