After dramatic rise in COVID-19 infections, Israel halts reopening plans


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is hitting an “emergency brake” on its ongoing reopening of the economy due to a sharp rise in the rate of coronavirus infections in recent days.

Some 800 new COVID-19 cases were identified in the past week, as opposed to a total of about 300 infections of the coronavirus confirmed in the two weeks before that.

Plans to reopen railway transportation have been scrapped but will be revisited next week. The reopening of cultural and sport venues will be pushed back at least a week from June 14. The Education Ministry also said Sunday that 130 schools and kindergartens have closed in the past 10 days due to student and staff  coronavirus infections.

One exception is event and wedding halls, which will be allowed to reopen with 250 people, as long as they wear masks and observe social distance protocols.

Israel allowed restaurants, bars, hotels and houses of worship reopen in late May. Earlier last month, schools opened days after the government gave them the green light to do so, prompting debate and confusion.

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