From Sunday, people will be permitted to go more than 1km (0.6 miles) from their homes for non-essential purposes; nurseries will reopen; and restaurants will be able to serve takeaway food.
Beaches, nature reserves and national parks will also reopen for visitors. The prime minister declared the lock-down had been a “major success”.
Israel has reported 300,000 Covid-19 infections and 2,128 deaths since the start of the pandemic.The government was praised in the spring for taking early action that contained the spread of the virus and resulted in a very low death rate compared with other countries. But it came in for widespread criticism for losing control after the first lock-down was eased in May.
The second lock-down began on 18 September, after Israel recorded infection and mortality rates that were among the highest in the world relative to population size.
Medics wearing protective gear visit patients at the coronavirus ward of the Rambam Health Care Campus, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa (11 October 2020)The daily number of new confirmed cases has gradually fallen from a high of almost 9,000 at the end of last month to 1,608 on Thursday – below the threshold of 2,000 set by the health ministry as a condition for the first stage of the lock-down exit plan.
The test positivity rate of 4.5% is also the lowest recorded since mid-July, while the reproduction number, or R value, currently stands at 0.62 – below the threshold of 0.8.