Israel minister admits to breaking own social distancing rules

Israel minister admits to breaking own social distancing rules
Transport Minister Miri Regev said she had knowingly broken the rules at an official event just hours after they were passed.
2 min read
07 July, 2020
Gatherings of more than 20 people are now banned in Israel [Getty]
Israel's transport minister on Tuesday admitted to knowingly breaking social distancing regulations passed by her government just hours earlier, local media reported.

"We're not exactly keeping to Health Ministry restrictions," Miri Regev said, unmasked, at an official ceremony near Ashkelon.

A video of the ceremony published by Channel 13 shows at least 25 chairs set up close to one another, and a spread of food and drinks available for participants.

New social distancing rules officially put in place by the government earlier this week do not allow gatherings of more than 20 people. The rules also require participants to wear masks and maintain a two-metre distance from one another.

"We need to be more compact. It's true we are in an open area, but there need to be fewer and fewer people," the transport minister said.

"Next time I'll be sure that it happens."

Also on Tuesday, the director of public health at Israel's health ministry quit her post amid an uptick of Covid-19 cases in the country.
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"To my regret, for a number of weeks now, the handling of the outbreak has lost direction," Siegal Sadetzki wrote on Facebook.

Sources close to Sadetzki told ynet she resigned from her post due to outside pressures dictating public health decisions, citing a decision last month to allow events of up to 250 participants for weddings and religious ceremonies.

That decision came as part of a gradual easing of restrictions since May in a bid to kick-start the economy.

But, amid a dramatic rise in cases, the government this week approved a raft of new social distancing measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Israel is a "step away from a full lockdown", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told a cabinet meeting on Monday.

As well as limiting public gatherings, the new restrictions limit the number of people in restaurants and on public transport.

The government has also ordered clubs, bars and hotels closed.

From a medical point of view, the country should already be back in lockdown, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said last week.

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