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As Israel surpasses 4,000 dead, ministers set to extend lockdown to a third week

By TOI STAFF
December 18, 2020

Health experts reported to tell cabinet infections rates will stay high even after another week of lockdown; cabinet orders all arrivals from UAE to quarantine hotels

A majority of ministers are expected to back extending the tightened national lockdown by another week beyond its Thursday expiration date, amid discouraging data morbidity data presented to the cabinet.

As of Sunday night, 1,945 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, of some 81,000 active cases, and 1,177 are in serious condition. The national death toll rose to 4,005, having surpassed 4,000 during the day and rising by some 1,000 over the past month alone.

Meanwhile, Israel’s vaccination drive continues apace, with more than 290,000 Israelis having gotten the second dose of the vaccine and over 2,100,000 the first shot.

Channel 13 reported that an extension of the lockdown is backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. Defense Minister Benny Gantz backs it so long as there is equal enforcement for the ultra-Orthodox community, where there are ongoing breaches of regulations and where some 20 percent of tests are coming back positive compared to around 5% in the general population.

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