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Israel imposes new restrictions amid Omicron surge - 1 min read

Jerusalem: Israel’s coronavirus cabinet has decided to tighten coronavirus-related restrictions amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

The “Purple Ribbon” restrictions will be imposed on shopping malls, meaning the capacity in these shops will be limited to one person for every 15 square meters, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office after the meeting.

The office said that the “Green Pass” scheme, which allows entry to public venues only to fully vaccinated people, will be imposed on shops larger than 100 square meters.

Only places in malls and shopping centres that provide “essential services” will not require a Green Pass, the statement added.

In schools located in “red” and “orange” communities, where infection rates are high, classrooms in which fewer than 70 per cent of the pupils have been vaccinated, will be required to learn from home via video link.

The new restrictions are expected to come into effect in the next few days, after the parliament’s approval.

Earlier on Tuesday December 22, the government decided to reduce the physical presence of employees to 50 per cent in working places in the government and public sector.

“We are witnessing the doubling of the number of verified cases and we are entering an exponential pace,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said to the coronavirus cabinet.

The new restrictions came a day after Israel banned travels to the United States, Canada and eight other countries, adding them to the list of “red countries.”

Israel has witnessed a surge of new cases of the Omicron variant over the past few weeks. On Tuesday, 1,323 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the country, according to the health ministry.

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