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Israel set to impose restrictions as virus cases soar

With over 4,300 more coronavirus cases reported on Friday, the steady rise in infections in Israel since June shows no signs of abating.

According to the Health Ministry, 4,388 new cases over the past 24 hours raised the overall count to 146,542, including 1,077 deaths and 111,539 recoveries.

At least 489 patients are in critical condition, 180 in moderate condition, and 134 are on respirators, the ministry said.

Israeli authorities approved a plan on Thursday to tighten restrictions in three stages to stem the spread of the virus.

The strategy will be approved by the Israeli government on Sunday, according to a joint statement by the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The statement said the government will “determine the dates for the entry into force of each stage, provided that the first stages achieve their objectives.”

It said the first stage will include “restrictions on movement of up to 500 meters from the place of residence, closing educational institutions, closing private and public activities, except for necessary businesses, and a comprehensive closure of restaurants, entertainment places, trade and domestic tourism.”

The second stage focuses on “preventing movement between towns and a comprehensive closure of restaurants, shops, entertainment, tourism, and shops … and the public sector will be working in a state of emergency.”

The third stage includes “more stringent measures” that have not been announced yet, the statement added.

The virus, which surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, has infected over 28 million people, and claimed nearly 910,000 lives in 188 countries and regions, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.