Israel facing second Coronavirus wave? Netanyahu warns of climbing numbers of infected

May 31, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel must adhere to the Coronavirus restrictions and social distancing guidelines or it may face another wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday, as the number of recorded infections climbed significantly over the weekend.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Ministry of Health updated Saturday night that the number of new infected Israelis recorded over the weekend climbed by 64, totalling at 1,917 active patients.

No new deaths were recorded and the number of patients in severe condition and on ventilators remained low.

The Ministry of Health stated is was monitoring the various numbers and centres of morbidity and was assessing the situation to consider the steps needed to cope with the increase in morbidity.

It urged the public not to be complacent and strictly adhere to the guidelines.

“The mood that the corona is behind us – is wrong,” it underscored.

The Ministry of Health also instructed hospitals to prepare for the reopening of Coronavirus wards, which were recently shut down following the low number of patients.

In a special statement, Netanyahu stated Saturday night that the increase in the number of infected “is still too little relative to where we were, but it is a change of direction. It is too early to say if it is a general change in the trend but it is not too early to say that there has been a general loosening in discipline.”

While Israel has achieved “successes on a global scale,” the pandemic “is most definitely not behind us. It is running amok in the world and it is still here in Israel – among us and in our midst.”

”We extinguished the greatest flames of the conflagration in the country but we have been left with the smouldering embers which a slight breeze can fan ablaze and carry the fire to other places. Nobody is immune,” he stressed.

“As long as there is no vaccine for the virus, it will return and spread if we are not strict about being cautious. We are all called upon to continue adhering to the rules,” he added.

He reminded his audience that when the government announced the lifting of restrictions, “we said that this opening would be experimental, that it would be influenced by the morbidity situation…we open it when morbidity is low and close it when morbidity is high. This is the corona routine.”

The coming days “will be a test, to see if there is a change in trend that would require a change of policy, such as closing education institutions.”

One of the main centres of infection was a high school in Jerusalem, where 103 of the 137 teachers and students who were infected in the entire school system came from.

The Ministry of Education stated that given the clear picture, it decided that the education system would continue to operate as routine, with a focused reference to educational institutions where high morbidity rates are found.

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