Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering imposing additional restrictions during the upcoming nationwide lockdown, and is in consultations at this time with top health officials on possible steps to take to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of a planned press conference Thursday evening, Netanyahu held a teleconference call with Coronavirus Czar Ronni Gamzu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Health Ministry Director-General Hezy Levy, and the chief of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat.
The lockdown, Israel’s second nationwide closure this year, had originally been planned to be less restrictive than the first, allowing Israelis to go up to 500 meters from their homes, and with most private-sector offices allowed to continue functioning.
The prime minister is now weighing greater restrictions for the second lockdown, after Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced Thursday that the government may need to impose harsher limitations on public activity.
"Once we get out of the difficult situation we are in, there will be a lot of time for soul-searching. We are currently at war," the minister said.
If Netanyahu does decide to pursue additional restrictions for the upcoming lockdown, the government will convene Thursday evening to vote on the proposed changes to the lockdown plan.
At the same time, the Knesset's Constitution Committee is expected to approve one lessening of the lockdown's restrictions - expanding the distance Israelis will be allowed to travel from their homes. Currently the limit is 500 meters, with the committee expected to raise that distance to one kilometer.