Israel will gradually ease its coronavirus lockdown from Sunday by letting some businesses reopen and relaxing curbs on movement after a slowdown in infection rates, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Authorities have steadily tightened a partial lockdown imposed on March 14, shuttering offices, closing schools and ordering people to stay mostly at home.
The measures have battered Israel’s economy, forced many businesses to close and sent unemployment above 25%.
But in televised remarks, Netanyahu said Israel had “succeeded in (its) mission so far” in combating the pandemic and argued that the restrictions had “proven themselves in a slowdown” in infection rates.
Israel has reported at least 164 deaths and nearly 13,300 cases of COVID-19, as of Saturday evening. However, infection rates have generally declined over the past two weeks, according to Israeli health ministry data.