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Israel hits 100,000 COVID-19 cases amid criticism of government response

Israel hits 100,000 COVID-19 cases amid criticism of government response

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a face mask to help fight the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks past shops in a market in Jerusalem's Old City July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

TEL AVIV: Israel officially reached a tally of more than 100,000 coronavirus cases on Friday (Aug 21) as the government struggled to contain a resurgence in infection rates.

The latest daily tally showed 1,496 new cases, bringing the total number to 100,716, the health ministry said. Israel has reported 809 deaths among its 9 million population.

In May, Israel lifted a nationwide lockdown that had flattened an infection curve, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials celebrated as a success. Daily cases that numbered in the hundreds dropped to low double digits.

But a second surge of cases and ensuing restrictions have kept many Israelis out of work. Some restrictions have since been lifted to revive business activity, but unemployment still hovers at 21.5 per cent.

Netanyahu's government has come under fire by Israelis who have taken to the streets in near-daily demonstrations to demand better economic aid.

The protests have also focused on corruption allegations against Netanyahu, which the right-wing premier denies.

An Aug 5 poll from the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 25 per cent of Israelis approve of Netanyahu's handling of the pandemic, while some 58 per cent identify with the protests against the government's economic policies.

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Source: Reuters/nh

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