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Netanyahu limits gatherings to two people

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference about the coronavirus in Jerusalem on March 11. (Flash90 photo)

Gatherings of Israelis are limited to two people except nuclear family members living in the same home, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday evening from his home, where he is in self-quarantine.

Netanyahu and his advisers entered self-quarantine after his Knesset adviser, Rebecca Paluch, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday. The next evening, Netanyahu and his family tested negative, though the prime minister will remain in quarantine per Health Ministry regulations.

Netanyahu announced in a nationally televised address from his home that “there won’t be gatherings of over two people who are not from the same nuclear family.” This includes outdoor prayer services in open areas and respecting social distancing, which had previously been permitted. Funerals remain limited to 20 mourners and circumcisions to 10 people using appropriate social distancing.

Netanyahu said this is the year of the “lockdown seder,” and that Easter and Ramadan in the country should be observed the same way.

At the start of his address, Netanyahu said that the camera was at least six feet away and that “I did my own makeup and hair, which is why it looks like this.”

Netanyahu and outgoing Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon also announced a $22 billion economic rescue package that allocates $2.8 billion to the health care system, $8.4 billion to welfare and unemployment, $9 billion to help small and large businesses, and $2.2 billion for economic stimulus.

As of Monday evening there were 4,695 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel and 16 deaths.

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