The Knesset late Thursday night passed a law granting the government special powers for dealing with the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Under the terms of the so-called “major corona bill,” which passed its third and final reading in the plenum by a 48-35 vote, the government has the authority to declare a state of emergency amid the coronavirus crisis and impose restrictions to curtail the renewed outbreak of the pandemic. The legislation will remain in effect until June 30, 2021.
The government will be permitted to declare a state of emergency if it is convinced that the coronavirus will spread even more and the public’s health will be at risk if it does not exercise the special powers granted to it by the law, this after the opinions of the Health Minister and Health Ministry were presented to it.
The government will also be able to extend the state of emergency at 60 day intervals, instead of the 45 days specified in the legislation’s original version, with the approval of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, until the law, which was passed as a temporary order, expires. The Knesset may annul the state of emergency, and the government must cancel the state of emergency if the circumstances that justify it no longer exist.
The government will be authorized to institute new emergency regulations only if a state of emergency has been declared due to the corona pandemic. These regulations may include restrictions on the conduct of individuals, as well as on businesses, activities that are open to the public, workplaces, events, public transport, educational institutions and welfare frameworks. The validity of such regulations shall not exceed 28 days. T
The new law also allows citizens to continue protesting with limited restrictions. However, it authorizes police to prevent citizens who live in locales deemed as coronavirus hotspots from leaving those areas to attend demonstrations.