Restaurant (illustrative)
Restaurant (illustrative) iStock

Coronavirus Committee Chairwoman MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Likud) on Monday morning told the Committee that an agreement had been reached between herself and government representatives regarding changes to the coronavirus restrictions approved last week.

Under those restrictions, restaurants were permitted only to offer take-out and delivery.

At the beginning of the meeting, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) spoke about the drop in infections on Sunday - both with regards to the number of confirmed patients, and with regards to the percentage of positive tests.

"There is a drop in the amount of confirmed patients," he said, noting that "5.5% of those tested yesterday turned up positive, instead of 7.7% two days ago and in recent days." However, he emphasized, "we cannot learn anything from a single day."

MK Miki Zohar (Likud) requested that the Committee change the government order to allow restaurants to operate in open areas.

"There is an option to open restaurants in open areas, not closed, while adhering to the restrictions," Zohar said, noting that Knesset members and the government had agreed to allow swimming pools and beaches to remain open on the weekend, but that gyms would remain closed.

Zohar also noted the ongoing debate between himself and Prime Minister Netanyahu and Shasha-Biton, regarding reopening swimming pools and gyms last week.

"The Prime Minister is concerned that Committee decisions will endanger the public health," he explained. "We have reached nearly 2,000 people infected per day. If we reach 1,000 seriously ill patients, the [outbreak] will change dramatically. The healthcare system will collapse, and we won't be able to save lives. Don't take this virus lightly."

He added, "Without lives, there won't be an economy here, either. Heath Ministry statistics show that the sources of infection are not decisive, because patients cannot be sure where they were infected. Activity in gyms, due to its very nature, presents a danger of infection. We will investigate methods and new conditions to allow gyms to open."

Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Professor Itamar Grotto said, "Since two days ago at midnight, another 55 patients became seriously ill. The statistics today are more encouraging, but it is too early to know if this is a trend, and the rate of infection has not yet been stopped. When it comes to the rate of new patients infected, we are in one of the worst places in the world."