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Health Ministry warns Israelis may have to be confined to their homes

The Health Ministry said it was considering dramatically increasing its restrictions on movement in a bid to further slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We may ask people to leave the house less, and only for necessary errands. The government is considering a general closure on all citizens, and if that happens it would mean all age groups will be asked to stay home until further notice,” the ministry’s deputy director general, Itamar Grotto, said Monday.

Grotto also said the ministry was “planning greater oversight for the population over 70, which is at risk. We’re preparing now for hospitals to be able to hold the corona patients who will need treatment, and most of the less urgent patients will be in home hospitalization, unless they cannot be hospitalized at home for socioeconomic or family reasons.”

The comments came amid a new round of consultations by senior officials over increasingly drastic measures to limit contact and slow the virus’s spread.

“For the time being, a general shutdown of the economy isn’t planned,” an unnamed senior official told reporters on Monday. But, he added, “the government is preparing to cut back on public transportation.”

The comments came amid a new round of consultations by senior officials over increasingly drastic measures to limit contact and slow the virus’s spread.

“For the time being, a general shutdown of the economy isn’t planned,” an unnamed senior official told reporters on Monday. But, he added, “the government is preparing to cut back on public transportation.”

The Monday afternoon meeting was to examine further ways to limit human contact while also reducing the cost for the Israeli economy of the near-total shutdown of business and travel in the country.

Netanyahu is expected to deliver a public announcement about the conclusions of the meeting on Monday evening.