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Israelis, barely out of third lockdown, already anticipating a fourth

Israel is just easing out of its third lockdown, and yet 62% of Israelis are already fully expecting the government to impose a fourth COVID-related national lockdown, according to a recent poll.

The Panels Politics Research Institute poll showed that most Israelis believe that despite the highest per capita vaccination rate in the world, lower infection rates, and fewer serious hospitalized COVID cases, a fourth lockdown is on the horizon.

The poll surveyed 591 Israelis who have spent the better part of a year out of work, with kids learning from home, and restrictions on when and where they can go within their own neighborhoods and around the country.

Contrary to prediction of the public, it appears that the government will not impose another lockdown before the upcoming elections on March 23.

A senior health official said that Israelis may even be able to have a “normal” Passover, which is coming up on March 27, if the public maintains coronavirus prevention protocols until then. Passover and every holiday that followed in 2020 were subjected to strict curfews and restrictions on community and even family gatherings.

“I do not think it is necessary at the moment to talk about restrictions on Passover, but everything could change by then,” said Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health in Israel. “If this (decrease in infection rates) continues, there will be no need for restrictions. If we keep wearing masks and keep our distance, we will have a normal holiday.”

Life in Israel is starting to reawaken after the latest lockdown which began in late December and then became more restrictive, with the implementation of school closures in early January.

Gyms and restaurants, which have been closed since September, have recently been opened to vaccinated Israelis.

The government also reopened the airport which had been mostly off-limits to citizens for six weeks. As a result, some 25,000-30,000 Israelis were stranded abroad and unable to return home.

Now, between 1,000 to 3,000 Israelis a day may reenter the country. Outbound travel from Israel is limited to people with vaccination certificates, otherwise known as the green passport, and flights remain limited. 

Of course, with elections just a week away, politicians are careful regarding statements about vaccines, coronavirus and lockdowns. Political fortunes can be more important to some, than the well-being of the public.

Tourists are still banned from entering the Holy Land. 

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