Israel can bypass parliament on virus decisions

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JERUSALEM: The Israeli parliament has passed an emergency bill allowing the government to bypass it in making immediate decisions on combating a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus.

Parliament voted early Tuesday to sidestep its own committees so that government decisions could go into immediate effect. The argument was quick implementation was essential given the fast-spreading nature of the virus. But some opposition lawmakers decried the sidelining of the legislature, saying it marked another step in undermining the foundations of Israeli democracy.

It comes a day after the government reimposed new restrictions on the public to quell spread of the virus. Gatherings have been limited and reception halls, restaurants, bars, theaters, fitness centers and pools were ordered to shut down again.

Just weeks ago, Israel appeared to have contained its initial outbreak after imposing strict measures early on during a first wave of infections. But after reporting just a handful of new cases a day in early May, it has experienced a steady uptick in cases following an easing of restrictions. Currently, Israel is reporting upward of 1,000 new cases a day, higher than its peak during the previous wave.


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