Coronavirus Live: Senior Likud Lawmaker Resigns From Knesset Panel Over COVID Restrictions

Israel sees another drop in new cases, but daily deaths among highest in world ■ Israeli army chief violates coronavirus lockdown ■ Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat tests positive ■ World Health Organization reports new daily high in global cases

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A restaurant in Tel Aviv stands shuttered amid Israel's second coronavirus lockdown, October 10, 2020
A restaurant in Tel Aviv stands shuttered amid Israel's second coronavirus lockdown, October 10, 2020Credit: Meged Gozani
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Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are dealing with a renewed coronavirus outbreak, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

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Israel currently has 62,206 active cases; 1,941 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 5,547 active cases and 407 deaths, and in Gaza 1,557 active cases and 24 deaths.

LIVE UPDATES

9:00 A.M. Israeli experts plan to ease lockdown within week save for 14 ‘red’ towns

The Health Ministry is preparing to lift the nationwide lockdown this Thursday or the following Sunday, October 18, at the latest. The restrictions on movement will end, preschools will reopen, and the private sector will be able to resume operations – with the exception of businesses serving the public in person.

But the following towns with excessively high coronavirus infection rates will remain under lockdown – Bnei Brak, Rechasim, Modi’in Ilit, Elad, Betar Ilit, Ramle, Netivot, Ashdod, Rehovot, Lod and Hadera – and a few neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and Netanya.

SATURDAY 

8:30 P.M. Senior Likud lawmaker resigns from Knesset panel over lockdown restrictions

Knesset member Gideon Sa’ar of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud announced his resignation from the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Saturday evening in protest over the claim that the panel was acting as a rubber stamp for government decisions.

Sa’ar sought to reopen businesses with less than ten employees, a proposal which garnered wide support in the committee, but was ultimately rejected for fear that it would lead to lifting restrictions on protests.

In his resignation letter, Sa’ar wrote, “I warned that the coronavirus law would severely damage the principle of parliamentary oversight of the government.” Sa’ar added that “according to the existing law the committee cannot introduce changes in the regulations, it can only approve or reject them. Given that… the committee is barred from introducing changes, even with full consensus among committee members - coalition and opposition as one. I could not support the shuttering of small businesses with up to ten workers at a time when gatherings of up to ten people are allowed. And I won’t be able to support it in the future. As such, I can’t see the point in remaining on the committee.”

The committee is expected to convene Sunday and decide on whether to approve or reject the current lockdown restrictions, which the government approved last Thursday. (Jonathan Lis)

9:16 P.M. WHO reports new daily high in global COVID-19 cases

The World Health Organization has announced a record in new daily coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, with more than 350, 000 reported to the UN health agency on Friday.

The new daily high surpasses a record set earlier this week by nearly 12,000 infections. In a press briefing, WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan acknowledged that even as COVID-19 continues to surge across the world, “there are no new answers.”

He said that although the agency wants countries to avoid the punishing lockdowns that have devastated economies, governments must ensure the most vulnerable people are protected and that numerous measures must be taken. (The Associated Press)

5:31 P.M. Five journalists attacked in a week reporting from ultra-Orthodox areas

Journalists from several Israeli networks have reported being attacked in ultra-Orthodox towns and neighborhoods on at least five different occasions in the past week, as tensions in religious communities aggravate over the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions over the period of Jewish High Holy Days.

Special Haaretz briefing: How Israel’s COVID failure led to a second national lockdown

The incidents occurred in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim and Kiryat Belz neighborhoods and in the cities of Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh. The journalists said they were beaten, chased and cursed. To date, police have arrested a suspect in only one incident, but have said they are investigating other cases.

5:02 P.M. Police commander says in leaked recording police won't fine synagogue-goers in West Bank settlement

A police commander in an ultra-Orthodox settlement was recorded saying he did not intend to enforce coronavirus restrictions on synagogues and that he was requesting that the appearance of following guidelines be maintained in return, the news site Charedim 10 reported on Wednesday.

The commander of the police station in Modi’in Ilit was recorded telling a member of the Jerusalemite faction of the Haredi community in the city that he did not intend on enforcing the regulations against gatherings inside synagogues, and in return, Superintendent Tzahi Halfon asked for a show of keeping to the rules for the sake of appearances. (Aaron Rabinowitz) 

4:16 P.M. Active cases in Israel keep declining

The Health Ministry confirmed 2,522 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total in Israel to 287,858, with 60,722 of them considered active, down more than 700 from Thursday's tally.

1,524 patients are currently hospitalized. 860 are said to be in serious condition, with 241 of them on life support.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths since the start of the outbreak stands at 1,886. (Haaretz)

11:30 A.M. Vitamin D said to protect from COVID-19, ameliorate symptoms

Increasing scientific evidence from around the world indicates that vitamin D can protect against infection by COVID-19, and that it’s possible that for those suffering from the virus, the symptoms might be lessened and the death verdict annulled simply by taking vitamin D. It’s inexpensive and readily available.

The first studies in the world appeared last April. One of them, which examined a large database, was conducted by the research institute of Israel’s Leumit health maintenance organization in association with Bar-Ilan University, and it came up with impressive results.

Since then, similar articles have been published in a host of countries: the United States, Germany, France, Italy, China, Iran, South Korea, India, Britain, Switzerland and Israel. Time and again, a significant connection was found between the level of vitamin D in the blood and a susceptibility to infection by the coronavirus. Individuals with a vitamin D deficiency are more disposed to be infected by the virus, and in case of infection a low level of vitamin D increases the likelihood of developing complications. The opposite is also true: Patients with high levels of vitamin D tend to suffer less from serious symptoms and to be less likely to die. In general, it can be said that there is a linear connection: The seriousness of the disease correlates completely with one’s level of vitamin D. (Smadar Reisfeld)

10:30 A.M. Rate of positive test results drops, daily deaths among highest in world

The Health Ministry said that 4.6 percent of coronavirus tests since Thursday evening have turned out positive. Even though the rate of positive results is expected to rise over the course of the day, the relative rate of positive tests seems to be declining.

At the beginning of the week, the rate was 11.7 percent, while  Thursday’s positive tests stood at 8 percent. On the eve of the Jewish New Year, the date that the second lockdown began, the rate of positive tests was 10 percent.

According to the daily report released Friday morning by the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 department, the decline in the rate of positive test results is “one of the most prominent signs of apparent containment.”

However, the report also noted that "Israel continues to be among the world leaders in the number of deaths per day from COVID-19, and in the weekly average of the number of new infections per day." (Ido Efrati)

THURSDAY

10:42 P.M. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat contracts COVID-19

Dr. Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, "has been infected with COVID-19," the Secretariat of the PLO Executive Committee announced via Twitter on Thursday night.

The tweet went on to wish Erekat "a speedy recovery" and "apologize for canceling all his appointments until his complete recovery." (Jack Khoury)

10:30 P.M. Israel registers over 3,200 new cases since Wednesday evening

Israel has recorded 3,224 new cases since Wednesday evening, with 7.6 percent of all test performed during this timeframe coming back positive, compared to 8.9 percent the previous day, Health ministry data shows.

Forty more people have died from the virus, raising the death to 1,864. The number of cases considered serious stands at 863, out of which 241 are on ventilators.

Israel currently has 61,466 active cases, out of which 1,595 are hospitalized.

According to the ministry, 49,112 COVID tests were conducted on Wednesday, and 32,122 were performed on Thursday. (Haaretz)      

8:50 P.M. Israeli army chief latest senior official to violate lockdown

Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi violated coronavirus health regulations this week by hosting members of his extended family at his home, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Thursday. 

The army issued a statement in which Kochavi admitted to hosting his in-laws in his yard. He expressed regret and accepted responsibility for his actions.

The regulations bar visits by anyone who does not live in the household even if the guests live within the 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) travel radius to which members of the public are restricted during the current lockdown (subject to exceptions).

“The chief of staff had refrained during the entire period of the current lockdown from hosting or being a guest in violation of the directives,” the army said in a statement.

“On the evening in question, the chief of staff’s wife’s parents, who live three houses away, arrived and were only in the yard and maintained social distance and wore masks, on the mistaken understanding that the directives permitted meetings in the open air. The chief of staff regrets this and takes responsibility, understanding the supreme importance of following the directives," said the statement. (Yanic Kubovich)

1:35 P.M. Shin Bet chief apologizes for violating lockdown

Nadav Argaman, the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, apologized for violating lockdown orders by hosting family members over the Sukkot holiday, a Shin Bet statement said.

In the statement, Argaman confirmed that his daughter, who does not live in his house, visited him on Saturday, which goes against the country's coronavirus restrictions. His wife's daughter, her husband and their baby were also present.

On Tuesday, Kan Bet Public Radio reported that Argaman hosted family members at his home over Sukkot holiday. "Contrary to reports, the only people who spent time in the home were his children and his wife's children. The total number of people present, including those who live in the home, was eight people, who were outdoors," the statement said. It added that his daughter does not live far away, and is a soldier who divides her time between her mother and father's homes.

"The head of the service apologizes for the event and takes full responsibility for it," the statement says. (Amos Harel)

1:20 P.M. Acting police chief in quarantine

Acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen has entered quarantine after coming into contact with a confirmed patient while visiting with officers in the north, a police statement said. 

Cohen is feeling well and will continue working from quarantine until the period ends, the statement added. (Josh Breiner

12:22 P.M. Bnei Brak hospital director resigns after saying Haredi community received 'rotten' education

The director of the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak resigned Thursday afternoon, after he told Kan Public Radio earlier that day that the Haredi community "was educated to receive everything and give nothing for years, and that [the rise in coronavirus infection] is one of the results," earlier that day.

"The management of Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center expresses sadness following Prof. Moti Ravid's statements to the media in the past days, in which he said hurtful things about the Haredi public in general and its rabbis specifically," a statement from the hospital said. "Following these statements, Prof. Ravid presented his resignation to the hospital management."

In his interview with the radio station, Ravid said that he expects another wave of infection after the Simchat Torah holiday this weekend. "It's one of the wildest events in the history of the State of Israel," he said, saying that the country had never seen an entire community "unburdening itself in this way and killing people as a part of it.

"It's not even out of faith," he said. "I don't understand the connection between faith, between Judaism, between religion, and what they're doing…. They were raised to get everything and not give anything for years and this is one of the results. I don't think there are religious qualities here, it's the rotten education of a population." He added, "The rabbis, those among them, the wise men, are shouting and telling them to stop – but there's a crowd that won't listen." (Aaron Rabinowitz

12:06 P.M. Israel far from herd immunity, antibody testing shows

The Health Ministry assesses that 5.5 percent of Israelis have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the results of antibody testing conducted between July and September on a sample of about 55,000 people across the country. According to the survey, Israel is still very far from achieving so-called herd immunity, which experts say requires at the very least 30-40 percent of the population be infected.

According to the results of the antibody survey, men had a higher rate of coronavirus infection than women – 4.9 percent versus 3.1 percent. The rate of infection was highest among children aged 10-18 (8.1 percent). Jerusalem had the highest rate of infection in the country, with 9.5 percent; following it were the center with 2.9 percent; Tel Aviv with 2.2 percent; the north with 1.9 percent and Haifa with 1.1 percent. (Ido Efrati and Aaron Rabinowitz

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10:30 A.M. Half of students diagnosed with COVID-19 since lockdown from ultra-Orthodox schools

Three weeks after most classes have been suspended amid the lockdown, Israeli Education Ministry published its own data on Thursday, showing that half of the new coronavirus infections among preschool through 12th grade students since the lockdown began are from ultra-Orthodox schools.

The data is not completely conclusive, as most of the new cases have emerged since the schools have been shut; there is no indication whether it will be safe for schools to reopen after the holidays fall holidays.

The data shows 15,285 preschool through high school students and 1,348 staff among the country's cases of COVID-19. The numbers do not include teaching assistants working in the system since the start of the school year.

Half of these new cases are from the independent, ultra-Orthodox school system who account for just 19 percent of the entire school population. The ministry does not say how many new cases have been diagnosed among students in special education or in special classes for at-risk teens, which have remained open during the lockdown.

The last time the ministry published statistics about coronavirus infection was a week after the school year opened on September 1. That data was incomplete and was not broken down by region nor did it include the numbers of teaching staff who caught the illness. The ministry has refused to publish data on how many students have the virus or the numbers of schools or classes that have been shut due to local outbreaks.

Education Minister Yoav Galant’s office said in response that since September the publication of the data has been delayed “in order to obtain greater accuracy” and differentiate between those who caught the illness over the summer and the new cases from the current school year. In effect, the data published on Thursday does not reflect any of the new cases that have emerged since the start of the school year, but rather only during the lockdown. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

10:15 A.M. Small businesses call to reopen Sunday after officials flout lockdown rules

A Facebook group of small business owners called "There won't be a lockdown!!" is calling on stores and services to publicly reopen on Sunday. The group said that the news that Sara Netanyahu brought a private hairdresser into the prime minister's residence for a haircut, in direct violation of lockdown rules, proves that the restrictions are unacceptable.  

"Small businesses will open from Sunday and begin saving themselves from personal and financial ruin," the post by the administrators of the 60,000-strong, two-and-a-half-week-old group added.

"Of course, this wouldn't have happened if Knesset members and elected officials themselves followed the rules that they placed on us… But as long as they themselves blatantly violate the law and don't serve as an example for their voters…small businesses will sort out their own futures. Small businesses will be open on Sunday at 10 A.M."   

The group's creators are Arcaffe co-founder Tamir Barelko and former publicist and designer Gil Goren. Barelko told TheMarker that about 70 percent of the group's membership are self-employed and frustrated parents whose children are at home. He said that major chains received hush money from the government. "It's all lobbying and power," he said. "The government isn't interested in small businesses." (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

8:38 A.M. Decline in new cases continues for third day

Israel has confirmed 4,455 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, marking a third day of decline in new cases. The total number of cases in Israel now stands at 282,872, with 61,049 of them considered active.

1,576 patients are currently hospitalized, with 847 of them in serious condition and 236 on life support.

The number of deaths has risen slightly overnight, and now stands at 1,824 since the outbreak began. (Haaretz)

6:06 A.M. Antibody tests show a third of ultra-Orthodox hot spot had virus

Seroprevalence studies conducted in Bnei Brak from June to August showed that one-third of residents had been infected with the coronavirus. The survey of a random sample of 3,500 residents revealed antibodies in the blood of 14.6 percent.

When the survey, which is being published here for the first time, ended in early September, there were about 10,000 confirmed infections in the city. Since then the number has doubled, and today stands at about 22,000. This means that the number of carriers has also doubled, bringing the figure to 30 percent of the population. (Aaron Rabinowitz)

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WEDNESDAY

11:45 P.M. Government extends emergency regulations that limit protests

Israel's government approved a one-week extension of the emergency regulations, which effectively limit anti-government protests. The "special state of emergency," which will now be in effect until October 13, must be renewed on a weekly basis.

The restrictions limit protesters to a one-kilometer radius of their homes, and allow them to protest in groups of 20 people or less. 

The Knesset's legislative committee is expected to convene on Sunday to debate the extension of the emergency regulations.

The Prime Minister's Office said, "In a telephone conference, the government approved the health minister's proposal to extend the declaration of a special state of emergency in the face of the coronavirus pandemic until October 13, 2020." (Noa Landau)

10:45 P.M. Antibody tests: 30% of Bnei Brak residents have been infected with the coronavirus

Seroprevalence studies conducted in Bnei Brak from June to August showed that one-third of residents had been infected with the coronavirus. The survey of a random sample of 3,500 residents revealed antibodies in the blood of 14.6 percent.

When the survey, which is being published first on Haaretz, ended in early September, there were about 10,000 confirmed infections in the city. Since then the number has doubled, and today stands at about 22,000. This means that the number of carriers has also doubled, bringing the figure to 30 percent of the population. (Aaron Rabinowitz)

9:10 P.M. Finance minister reveals new coronavirus aid package, launches invective against Health Ministry

The Finance Minister Yisrael Katz says he will not allow "millions of people to sink into despair and hunger because of wrong decisions by the Health Ministry." 

Katz came down heavily on his coalition counterparts during the announcement of a new program to support the unemployed. The new grants will cover those who were earning up to 8,000 shekels a month, and will be brought before the government and the Knesset for approval. 

The grant will be paid only to those who have been unemployed for at least 100 days over the course of the pandemic. Alongside this, a separate grant is planned for those who return to work.

The finance minister is seeking to pay advances to the self-employed as early as November, pulling the money from the grants that they are expected to receive.

Katz took aim at the policy of a full lockdown at a Finance Ministry meeting on Wednesday, which he says targeted the economy "indiscriminately and without any health justification."

"Instead of enforcing [a lockdown] on places with high infection rates, workplaces that are not open to the public and are not contagious are forced to shut down. It does not make sense to allow gatherings of up to ten people, but to forbid opening businesses for up to ten workers – no one accepts the logic of this," he said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's office issued a response, insisting that the lockdown is necessary and adding: "The prime minister will not succumb to pressure from inside or outside the government, from those who are trying to chasing votes at the expense of public health. The economy will be stronger only when the public is healthier." (TheMarker)

8:00 P.M. Health Ministry: Active COVID-19 cases at 62,487, death toll at 1,818

The number of active coronavirus cases in Israel has risen by 151 since midnight to 62,487, the Ministry of Health has reported Wednesday.

The total coronavirus cases is now 280,744, a 17 percent increase on the previous week. 

Of these, 867 people are in a critical condition, a 13 percent uptick from last week, while 241 are on respirators. 

The death total has also risen by 13 since midnight, reaching 1,818. (Haaretz)

6:30 P.M. New data from Health Ministry: Over 500 COVID-19 patients visited synagogues on Yom Kippur

At least 522 people diagnosed with coronavirus have been to synagogues across the country on Yom Kippur, according to a limited analysis of data provided by the Ministry of Health. These patients were diagnosed after their visit to synagogues.

The Ministry of Health's website displays a database of locations where coronavirus infections have taken place in the past two weeks. The database contains only around 4,000 locations, although there are currently 63,381 active patients, and other known sites of infections, such as the Tiberias synagogue where Minister Gila Gamliel prayed on Yom Kippur, are not mentioned. (Chaim Levinson)

2:00 P.M. Netanyahu says lockdown won't be eased before next week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told local government heads via Zoom call that easing nationwide lockdown will be only discussed next week, as per experts' recommendation.

In addition, the prime minister asked for the mayors' cooperation in preventing large gatherings and enforcing regulations. 

Netanyahu also asked them to "join the effort to reduce the infection rate by exercising their abilities and influence to maintain lockdown instructions," and in encouraging citizens to find protected and safe local solutions for prayers in public space according to guidelines. (Noa Landau)

1:30 P.M. Cabinet allocates additional $177 million for army coronavirus efforts

The Israeli cabinet approved an addition of 400 million shekel ($177 million) to the defense budget for the continued operation of the special unit established to fight the coronavirus. 

The budget increase was submitted at the request of the Israel Defense Forces, and will be used for the continued operation of the unit also in the year 2021. The amount is added to the existing budget, which amounts to 1.5 billion shekels ($440 million).

that government officials are accusing the defense minister and the IDF chief of staff of conditioning the army’s assistance in fighting the coronavirus pandemic on receiving extra funds on top of the regular defense budget. Moreover, they charge, at a time when ordinary Israelis are suffering economically, the two defense chiefs are seeking benefits for retired officers that will cost around 1 billion shekels ($290 million) a year. These benefits are opposed by the Finance and Justice Ministries. (Yaniv Kubovich)

12:45 P.M. Israel's unemployed near 1 million 

Since Rosh Hashanah, about 200,000 more Israelis registered as unemployed or have been sent on unpaid leave from their jobs, as the overall number of unemployed citizens reached 950,989 amid the coronavirus crisis. (Sivan Klingbail) 

12:15 P.M. Can Israel's army succeed where its politicians have failed and beat COVID-19?

A to the Israeli army base confronting a new enemy: the coronavirus. Its recently established contact-tracing unit is charged with reaching out to 1,500 potential virus carriers every day. 

11:00 A.M. Health Ministry launches effort to ease load on overcrowded hospitals, struggles to implement it

The Health Ministry announced a one-off operation three weeks ago, in which coronavirus patients are being transferred from overcrowded hospitals to others that are less crowded. This operation was supposed to be just one part of a larger effort to achieve a regulation system designed to distribute the workload equally in hospitals across the country.

This operation also includes a system of primary regulation (evacuation of patients from their home to a hospital in another area) and secondary regulation (transfer of hospitalized patients). The regulation of COVID-19 patients has been marked and defined as one of the most important tools for maintaining the capacity of the hospitalization system in light of the increase in infection rates in September.

However, allegations have begun to emerge in recent weeks from  officials from the Magen David Adom medical rescue service, and these are now being reinforced by other sources in the health system, which describe real difficulties in implementing the process of regulating patients. 

According to sources in the Health Ministry who are involved in the matter, there is an unwillingness on the part of hospitals, including large hospitals with relatively low workloads, to accept patients from other hospitals. 

The Health Ministry is working day and night to regulate coronavirus patients between Israel's hospitals, with the help of Magen David Adom, said the ministry in response. "The regulation is being done in accordance with the existing and expected crowding in hospitals. We are dealing with the constraints on the ground, and in compliance with Health Ministry decisions of the Ministry." (ido Efrati)

9:35 A.M. Patients can suffer long-term effects months after COVID recovery, Israeli report shows

There is growing evidence that people who have recovered from the coronavirus suffer long-term medical damage, with symptoms continuing long after recovery even in people who had only mild cases, a new report by Israel’s coronavirus information center said.

Reports of this phenomenon, termed “long COVID,” have accumulated in medical literature. The report from the information center, which is under the purview of the Israeli military’s Intelligence Directorate, utilizes these findings. It noted that people who contracted other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, also suffered from prolonged symptoms that sometimes lasted for years, and occasionally proved permanent.

Regarding the current virus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, any such findings are necessarily still preliminary. But based on data that has been accumulated to date, around a third of recovered patients continue suffering from symptoms, sometimes for months, even after testing negative for the virus. (Ido Efrati)

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8:00 A.M. Netanyahu's wife violates lockdown by getting her hair done, report says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, got her hair done at the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem last week, thus violating her husband's government lockdown restrictions, according to a Yedioth Ahronoth report.  

The Israeli daily reported that Netanyahu's hair stylist came to her home at least once, and he was paid with taxpayers' money. Netanyahu responded to the report by claiming that she thought she was allowed to get a haircut, because she was shooting an informational video about wearing masks.

Israel's coronavirus lockdown regulations bars movement further than a kilometer (0.6 miles) away from one's home, except for essential needs that do not include cosmetic treatments and visits to beauty parlors, as well as prohibit visiting other people's homes. As Sara Netanyahu has no official status, she is not entitled to exceptions regarding such services, unlike her husband.

Officials responding on her behalf said that she had thought she could get a haircut because she was filmed for an explanatory video about wearing masks ahead of the Sukkot holiday. "Since she is an influential public figure and this is an informational video meant for the public, she assumed that hairdressing services can be used, as is customary when appearing on television. Mrs. Netanyahu and the hairdresser wore masks and gloves while they were together and she even asked the hairdresser to avoid conversation." (Haaretz)

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12:03 A.M. Cabinet extends state of emergency by one week

The cabinet has approved a one-week extension of the current special state of emergency, which allows restrictions on protests during the lockdown. The restrictions put into place last week limit protests to groups of no more than 20, with protesters not allowed to be further than a kilometer away from home. Limiting protests can only be done during a special state of emergency in which all non-essential workplaces are closed. The cabinet must reapprove this state of emergency every seven days and cannot extend it for longer than 21 days. However, a Knesset committee can approve another extension. (Jonathan Lis)

TUESDAY

10:45 P.M. Active coronavirus cases continue slow decline, while death toll and seriously ill increase

Israel's active COVID-19 cases continued the recent trend of declining at a slow rate, falling by 419 from midnight to 63,831, taking the total cases for Tuesday to 277,026.

However, the death toll increased by 27 since midday, reaching 1,797. 880 patients are in a serious condition and 225 on life support, representing a small increase from earlier in the day.

52,177 tests were conducted today. (Haaretz)

7:16 P.M. Israel confirms more than 2,500 new cases, but active cases only slightly up

The Health Ministry confirmed 2,613 new cases since Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of cases to 276,438, with 63,809 of them considered active, representing a rise of only 504.

1,609 patients are currently hospitalized, with 872 of them in serious condition and 220 on life support.

1,784 COVID patients died so far. (Haaretz)

7:06 P.M. Netanyahu tests negative

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tested negative for the coronavirus, his office said, adding he took a new test, which delivers a result within 15 minutes. (Noa Landau)

6:31 P.M. Anti-Netanyahu protests renew in shadow of lockdown

Dozens of demonstrators took to the streets in Tel Aviv and in other cities across Israel, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down and protesting the government's restrictions on demonstrations during Israel's coronavirus lockdown.

Following reports of police violence directed at protesters on Saturday night, organizers are expecting a large turnout later on Tuesday evening. (Bar Peleg and Noa Shpigel)

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5:19 P.M. Shin Bet chief reportedly violates lockdown orders

Nadav Argaman, the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, hosted family members at his home over Sukkot holiday, in violation of Israel's lockdown orders, Kan Bet public radio reported.

Argaman's daughter, who is said to have visited him on Saturday, doesn't live with him.

The Shin Bet said in response the organization wouldn't discuss Argaman's private life. (Haaretz)

1:30 P.M. Protests set to take place in over 1,000 locations against Netanyahu government

The Black Flag anti-Netanyahu protest movement announced that small demonstrations will take place in about 1,087 different locations across Israel starting 6 P.M., in accordance with lockdown measures limiting protests to a one kilometer radios from one's home.

"Whether it is an attempt at deliberate deception by the police or incompetence, we will ask the media to be precise in reporting the number of locations and the police to do their job and protect the protesters in all the hot spots," read the organization's statement. 

Additionally, a protest run is set to take place in Jerusalem at 5:30 P.M. from Ein Kerem towards Balfour street, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence is located. (Noa Spiegel and Nir Hasson)

8:30 A.M. Israel diagnoses over 1,500 new cases

Israel's Health Ministry confirmed 1,517 new cases on Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 273,826, with 63,305 of them considered active.

1,650 patients are currently hospitalized, with 875 of them in serious condition and 220 on life support. The total number of deaths since the start of the outbreak stands at 1,757. (Haaretz)

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