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The Health Ministry reported 2,766 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. On Wednesday new cases exceeded 3,000. There are currently 25,277 active cases of which 416 people are hospitalized in serious condition and 123 on ventilators. There have been 991 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus czar, Prof. Gamzu, said that there was a good chance that Israel would be locked down for the high holidays, later this month.
Cabinet Ministers decided yesterday to impose lockdowns on 30 localities with high infection rates, starting Monday. Under these new restrictions, residents will be prohibited from venturing more than 500 meters (1600 feet) away from home except for food, medicine, and other essential house maintenance needs. All “non-essential” businesses will be closed. Schools will be closed except for kindergartens and special education. Travel to, within, and from the cities, and even certain neighborhoods, will be restricted. Police will announce which cities will be locked down on Sunday.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Israel ranks first in the world in the number of new coronavirus infections per capita. It is then followed by Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait and the United States.
The New York Times reported yesterday that PM Netanyahu “privately condoned” the American sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE despite his public claims to the contrary. The paper quoted senior American officials as saying that Netanyahu chose not to oppose the deal as it progressed in a parallel track to talks on the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE. The US officials said that Netanyahu “stopped publicly complaining about the proposed arms sale after a meeting with [U.S.] Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem last week that brought the Israeli prime minister back in line.”
According to unnamed Israeli officials, Bahrain will be the next Arab country to follow the UAE in normalizing relations with Israel.