In Brief: Death toll climbs as Israel reports highest number of new covid cases

The number of Israelis and Palestinians who have died from the coronavirus continues to rise as a second wave hits the Jewish state and the West Bank. In Israeli, 430 people have died, while 58 have died in the West Bank. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry said the number of new cases had risen by 1,997 in the previous 24 hours – the highest since the crisis began. Nine new deaths were reported and there are 259 people in a serious condition in hospital. On Wednesday, the Knesset debated a controversial new law granting the government sweeping powers to impose restrictions to tackle the pandemic until June 2021. After a late-night debate, the government partially revised its proposals, giving the Knesset a narrow 24-hour window to approve or reject new restrictions which would otherwise come into effect automatically. Earlier this month, the Knesset passed a time-limited measure allowing the government to impose measures and then seek retroactive approval from the Israeli parliament. However, the law has proved chaotic, with the Knesset coronavirus committee this week rescinding the government’s attempt to close restaurants, beaches and swimming pools as the number of cases in the county climbs. The new law will allow the government to introduce emergency measures for up to 28 days at a time. The government won’t be allowed to ban demonstrations or religious ceremonies, although it will be able to attach conditions to them. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced a loosening of rules around quarantine for those infected with the virus.¬†Patients will now be considered recovered after three consecutive days without symptoms and at least 10 days since they tested positive or began showing symptoms.¬†Read full article