Israel to Tighten Lockdown as Coronavirus Cases Soar

Israel will tighten lockdown restrictions in a bid to reverse the sharp rise in coronavirus infections that’s taking place as vaccine supplies dwindle.

The cabinet voted to close all schools and non-essential businesses for two weeks, beginning midnight Thursday. Airline travel will be permitted only for those who purchased tickets before.

A partial lockdown, which began Dec. 27 and restricted movement and banned most client-facing business activity, hasn’t managed to tame the virus.

While Israel says it has inoculated about 15% of the population with a first dose of vaccine, it is running low on supply. Second doses have been set aside for those already immunized, but the government has warned that there will be a lull in new inoculations until more supplies arrive.

A first shipment of 100,000 Moderna Inc. doses are to arrive this week, according to reports in the local press.

The virus variant identified in Britain is spreading in Israel as well, exacerbating the outbreak, according to the government. More than 8,000 new cases in the country of 9.3 million were confirmed in each of the past two days, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to more than 458,000, including 3,495 fatalities.

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