JERUSALEM—Israel on Monday reimposed a series of restrictions to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, including the immediate closure of bars, gyms and event halls.
In public remarks at a special cabinet session on the health crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had to reverse course to avoid a wider lockdown that could paralyse its economy, where unemployment is just above 20%. The Bank of Israel on Monday forecast a 6% economic contraction in 2020.
“The pandemic is spreading—that’s as clear as day. It is rising steeply daily and it is dragging with it, contrary to what we had been told, a trail of critically ill patients,” Netanyahu said.
A government announcement said that in addition to the immediate shuttering of bars, night clubs, gyms, event halls and cultural events, the number of diners in restaurants would be limited to 20 indoors and 30 outdoors.
After largely containing COVID-19 in May and reopening schools, beaches and businesses, Israel has been hit by a sharp rise in infections.