Israel extends coronavirus lockdown as finance minister warns of businesses ‘collapsing’

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While the lockdown will stay in place, the cabinet did loosen restrictions to allow close relatives to travel more than one kilometer in order to attend a wedding, and lifted restrictions barring professional athletes from training.

Tuesday’s cabinet meeting saw heated debate over the path to reopening, with Finance Minister Israel Katz warning that “small businesses are collapsing” under the lockdowns, adding that allowing them to reopen “does not hurt health and adds much to the economy.”

Officials will meet again on Thursday for further discussion about lifting the measures – including plans to reopen restaurants, preschools and airlines – which have stoked weeks of intense anti-government protests across the country, many explicitly aimed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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