Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel handled the coronavirus outbreak better than most countries but it may have something to learn when it comes to distributing relief funds to businesses hurt by the pandemic lockdown.
In a video conferernce call with business representatives about the economic impact of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus, Netanyahu said: “I think we’ve done a lot better than most countries in the world, the results show that, but there are some things we can learn from them.”
“The main thing we can learn from Americans is that when they allocated money, they also distributed it much more efficiently. For us, the division was contingent on all kinds of criteria and all kinds of processes, whether through the banks, or through the clerks or both. What we want to do and are about to do is drastically change it and actually adopt an American model that transfers money much more directly,” he added.
Overnight Sunday, the cabinet voted to extend emergency regulations until Monday and to postpone opening businesses in Arab communities during the month of Ramadan, from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. Pending cabinet approval, emergency regulations drafted for the Lag Ba’omer holiday next week prohibit public bonfires and restrict access to a focal point of celebrations at Mount Meron. But a committee comprised of outgoing Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Interior Minister Arye Dery, Bezalel Smotrich and Religious Services Minister Yitzhak Waknin would be empowered to authorize exceptions for Mount Meron festivities.
Ministers may consider extending the number of holiday permits amid concerns that the public will not comply with all the restrictions.
Also pending cabinet approval, the Finance Ministry has proposed opening shopping malls, universities, nature reserves and other parks on Tuesday. Middle schools, kindergartens and daycare centers will resume activity on May 10. Hotels, gyms, libraries, museums, cultural establishments and community centers will follow suit on May 17. High schools will reopen on May 31, along with restaurants, bars, event venues, movie theaters.
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As of Sunday morning, when eight new cases were confirmed, the number of the country’s active coronavirus cases was down to 6,329.