JERUSALEM – Israel has reimposed sweeping restrictions in response to a new surge in coronavirus cases, including weekend closures of many businesses and the limiting of all restaurants to takeout and delivery.
The government announced the restrictions early Friday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said â€œinterim stepsâ€ were needed to avoid another general lockdown.
All gyms and exercise studios will be closed except for use by competitive athletes. Restaurants will no longer be allowed to have on-site seating and beaches will be closed on weekends beginning later this month.
Stores, malls, barber shops, beauty salons and tourist sites will also be closed on weekends. Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors or 20 outside.
By late May, Israel had largely contained its outbreak following a two-month lockdown. But cases have soared in the weeks since restrictions were lifted, with Israel reporting around 1,900 new cases on Thursday alone. At least 384 people have died since the outbreak began.
HEREâ€™S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– Virus prompts drastic measures as death tolls set records
– Struggling India crosses 1 million coronavirus cases
– Russia is hacking virus vaccine trials, U.S., Britain, Canada say
– Georgia governor suing to block Atlanta from enforcing mask order
– Brazil tops 2 million coronavirus cases, with 76,000 dead
Follow all of APâ€™s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HEREâ€™S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
TOKYO – Japan’s capital has recorded a single-day record number of new coronavirus cases for a second straight day.
Tokyo confirmed 293 new cases Friday.
â€œWe have asked people and businesses to raise their alert levels,â€ Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters, urging social distancing, regularly disinfecting of hands and other measures to curb the outbreak.
Virus cases in Tokyo were confirmed at 286 Thursday, setting off worries the economy had reopened too quickly. Tokyo was taken off the area eligible for discounts, set to start next week, under the government â€œGo To Campaignâ€ to encourage travel and tourism within Japan.
Japan has never had a total lockdown but asked businesses to close and people to work from home in an â€œemergency,â€ starting in April. That has been gradually lifting.
Japan has so far avoided the massive cases of the hardest hit nations, at fewer than 24,000 confirmed cases and about 1,000 deaths.
BEIJING – China is now requiring those arriving on the mainland from Hong Kong show a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous three days and undergo 14 days of supervised quarantine in order to gain entry, following a new outbreak in the semi-autonomous region.
Notable exceptions include students and truck drivers who must cross the border on a daily basis, along with â€œimportant business peopleâ€ and others recognized under bilateral policies excluding them from quarantine demands, according to the official notice.
The new requirement took effect from 10 a.m. on Friday.
Hong Kong reported 67 new cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, an all-time daily high. Authorities said 63 were locally transmitted and that they could not trace the source for 35 of them.
MELBOURNE, Australia – Australiaâ€™s Victoria state has reported a daily record of 428 new COVID-19 cases as authorities move to increase testing in the state to monitor for any spread of the coronavirus from the Melbourne area.
Most of the new cases and three deaths reported Friday were in Melbourne.
Melbourne and neighboring semi-rural Mitchell Shire have been locked down since last week and authorities hope the restrictions will soon bring a plateauing of infections.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says only five of the new cases are in parts of the state not in lockdown. He says the government is increasing the number of testing sites outside Melbourne.
The state health minister adds that all but 42 coronavirus infections detected in Victoria this month were in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean health officials are expressing optimism that the countryâ€™s COVID-19 outbreak is coming under control despite a spike in infections tied to international arrivals.
Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho said at a briefing Friday that the spread of the coronavirus is clearly stabilizing in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area and other major cities, where transmissions had surged since late May.
South Koreaâ€™s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 60 newly confirmed cases, including 39 linked to people arriving from abroad.
Yoon says imported cases are less threatening than local transmissions because South Korea is enforcing two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad and having them tested within three days.