Israel lifted on Sunday a series of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, as the government begins a gradual end to the nationwide lockdown.
Businesses that don't accept customers can now reopen, and Israelis can now travel more than a kilometer away from their homes. The ban on being in someone else's home was also lifted. National parks were reopened, as were one-one-one businesses like hairdressers and beauty salons, and restaurants may now offer pickup.
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Schools remained closed, with the cabinet agreeing on Saturday night to begin reopening them on Tuesday at 7 A.M. They will likely begin to reopen gradually, according to sources in the Education Ministry.
The cabinet is expected to convene on Sunday to discuss plans for reopening schools.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the health, education and finance ministers on Saturday night to prepare for the next day’s discussions on a lockdown exit plan and a reopening of the education system.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant, who in previous discussions called to reopen the education system, is not expected to do so this time.
On Saturday, the government extended the closure of Ben-Gurion International Airport and border crossings into Israel for two weeks until February 21.
Meanwhile, a new study in Israel indicates that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is as effective as promised. The vaccine provides at least 50 percent protection 10 days after the first shot, new data reveals. This figure climbs to 95 percent a week after the second shot is received. The data from Israel is very similar to the conclusions reached in Pfizer’s own Stage III clinical trials.
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The conclusions from the new study are based on a probabilistic statistical model used to analyze the rates of vaccination and COVID-19 patients in moderate to serious condition, based on a breakdown according to age groups in Israel. The study has not yet undergone peer review.