Israel eases lockdown as hairdressers and national parks reopen

Finance Minister Israel Katz claimed it would be the 'final' shutdown


People shop at a reopened store in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on February 7, 2021, following the lifting of a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. - Israel is gradually emerging from a third lockdown that has been in force for more than a month with residents being allowed to move beyond one kilometer from their homes. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel eased its third coronavirus lockdown on Sunday, lifting some restrictions on businesses but Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport will remain closed.

Some businesses such as hair salons and takeout restaurants - as well as parks - can now reopen and a ban on travelling more than 1km from home has been lifted.

According to Haaretz, Israel’s cabinet agreed Saturday to begin reopening some schools next Tuesday.

Israel has earned wide media coverage over its immunisation push which has seen at least 2 million people fully vaccinated.

The country, which went into its third lockdown in December, has had more than 686,000 Covid-19 cases in total and over 5,000 deaths, according to its health authorities.

Speaking on Channel 13 Saturday, Finance Minister Israel Katz said the shutdown was to be “absolutely the final lockdown.”

In a statement on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned “morbidity” remains “very high.”

“Unfortunately, there is only a moderate decline in severe cases; therefore, the plight and the overcrowding in the hospitals is also very high,” he said. 

But he struck a more positive note as he said Israel expects to have vaccinated more than 90 per cent of its over 50 within two weeks.

“We are different from other countries. They do only lockdowns; that is all they do. 

“We can make a very cautious and gradual exit from the lockdowns because within two weeks we can vaccinate over 90 per cent of the population over 50,” he said.


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