Security forces during lockdown
Security forces during lockdownPolice spokesperson

At a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, government ministers decided to take a number of steps to limit the spread of the Delta strain of the coronavirus, but to refrain from taking any “drastic” steps at this point in time.

According to a report in Behadrey Haredim, the government is currently using “soft measures” to contain the epidemic, in order to avoid damaging industry and commerce and to limit the impact of measures on regular daily life.

However, according to Galei Tzahal, plans have already been drawn up to impose far harsher restrictions in the coming months – specifically during the Tishrei festivals (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot). Galei Tzahal obtained a document from the Prime Minister’s Office which reveals that preparations are already being made to impose a lockdown for the entire month of the High Holidays.

The compilers of the document noted that the general public should already be informed at this stage that far stricter regulations are on the near horizon – not only in Tishrei, but also in the traditional “vacation season” following the fast day of the 9th of Av. Among the restrictions being considered are those curtailing events such as weddings and cultural festivities.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry released data showing that the number of seriously ill patients in the country’s hospitals has risen to 46 in the past fortnight, seemingly justifying stricter regulations. However, according to a report in Yediot Aharonot, the true number is actually just 27 – obtained by checking with the hospitals themselves. The Health Ministry, responding to the allegations, explained that it receives its data via private companies and will be investigating the discrepancies.

Two people have died of coronavirus-related complications on Thursday, the first deaths in the past few weeks. One was an 86-year-old man who passed away in Rambam Hospital in Haifa. He had been fully vaccinated. Several hours later a 48-year-old man passed away in Wolfson Hospital in Holon; he had not been vaccinated.