(May 25, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein agreed on Sunday to return Israel’s train system to full service on June 8 and increase the passenger limit for buses, as part of the country’s incremental lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
According to the agreement, the passenger limit on buses will be raised to 75 percent of maximum capacity starting at the end of the week, with intercity buses being permitted to transport 46 passengers at a time instead of the current limit of 23.
Intracity buses, which currently are only allowed 20 passenger at a time, will be able to transport 49, while articulated buses will be able to carry as many as 75 passengers.
Israel Railways service was shut down in March and reopened at limited capacity earlier in May. A previous agreement would have seen trains return to full service on May 17, but the decision was overruled by then-Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov.
Starting on June 14, venues across the country will also be able to host live indoor concerts and performances, with social-distancing and mask-wearing regulations remaining in place, and temperatures being checked upon entrance. Tickets will only be available online, and no intermissions will be allowed.
“We’ve started opening the economy for the sake of the public and businesses, but it all depends on each and every one of us,” said Edelstein. “Without strict adherence to the guidelines, coronavirus could return, and with it, the closure of the economy.”
One new COVID-19 fatality was reported on Monday morning, the first in five days, taking the national death toll to 280.
Israel has recorded a total of 16,720 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently only 2,517 active cases in the country, with 34 patients on ventilators.
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