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Updated August 19th, 2021 at 21:48 IST

Israel reimposes COVID restrictions due to surge in number of cases due to Delta variant

New restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus came into force in Israel on August 18, after the nation recorded the highest daily number of COVID since Jan

Bhavya Sukheja
Israel
IMAGE: AP/PIXABAY | Image:self
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In a bid to counter the spread of coronavirus, new restrictions came into force in Israel on August 18, after the nation recorded the highest daily number of COVID-19 since January. According to the new rules, vaccination certificates or negative coronavirus tests are required to enter most enclosed spaces, including restaurants and bars, cultural and sports venues, hotels, and gyms. The latest measures were announced after Israeli PM Naftali Bennett called on citizens to get vaccinated as the infection continues to surge in the nation owing to more contagious delta variants. 

According to ANI, now, vaccine certificates or negative COVID-19 tests are also required to enter synagogues, mosques, or churches where there are more than 50 people. The capacity of shops, malls, and industrial parks is also limited to one person per seven square meters. It is worth noting that more than 78 percent of Israel’s approximately nine million people received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. 

But the number of new cases is still on the rise because of the delta variant of the virus. Amid the spread, the government re-imposed the restrictions that were lifted in June. After vaccination began in Israel in December last year, the number of infections and new cases has drastically decreased. But on Tuesday, the nation recorded more than 8,700 new positive coronavirus cases, marking the highest number in a single day since January this year. 

Booster shots for elderly residents 

Meanwhile, battling an uptick of COVID cases, Israel has asked its elderly citizens to get a third, booster shot of vaccine immediately. Last week, health authorities in the country gave a go-ahead to a booster shot for all people over the age of 60 and who received their second dose more than five months ago. Since the authorization, more than 262,500 Israelis have received the ‘extra’ shot.

Despite the high numbers, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett released an audio message urging seniors to get the booster dose on Sunday. In the recorded message, the leader warned that in the next two to three weeks anyone who is over the age of 60 and has not yet received their third vaccine is six times more likely to become seriously ill from the coronavirus, compared to those who are five days past their third shot. In addendum to getting jabbed, Bennett also urged the elderly population to exercise extreme caution until they get the third dose. This implied that they should refrain from going to crowded places, always wear a mask, etc. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published August 19th, 2021 at 21:48 IST

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