Israel bans outside prayer gatherings in latest anti-viral measures

Benjamin Netanyahu places himself in quarantine after an aide tests positive for coronavirus



Israel has introduced further measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, banning outdoors minyanim and ordering employees to take their temperature before work.

Funerals will be restricted to 20 mourners, while only 10 people are allowed at a brit.

Failure to comply with the directives could lead to a fine or six months’ imprisonment.

The only exemption to the prohibition on Jewish prayer gatherings is at the Kotel, where a bare minyan of 10 people keeping two metres apart from one another will be permitted for the three daily services.

Companies will be allowed a maximum of 10 employees or 15 per cent of their staff in the workplace, unless the premises are big enough to enable more people to work at safe distance.

But workers will have to take their temperature and fill out a form to say they have no symptoms of the virus if they are not working at home.

Coronavirus cases have risen to 4,831 in the country and deaths to 18.

According to Ynet, more than one in three of people tested in the Charedi township of Bnei Brak were found to have the virus — compared to 10 per cent in Jerusalem and six per cent in Tel Aviv.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who is Charedi himself, has proposed a lockdown of Bnei Brak, the website reported: “The situation there is horrible. Every day we still put lives at risk.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went into quarantine yesterday after an aide tested positive for the virus, but says he is showing no symptoms.

Israel was in “a better place” than most countries, he said in a speech last night, adding there will be no gatherings of more than two people who are not part of an immediate family.

The government also announced an $80 billion (£65 billion) dollar aid package to alleviate the economic effects of the restrictions.

In the UK, the Board of Deputies said on Monday that 42 members of the Jewish community had died from the virus.

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