Warning Israel ‘about to lose control’ of pandemic

Visitors sit in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem. EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN

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The Israeli coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet Monday to decide on a set of new coronavirus restrictions on the public after a two-hour meeting on Sunday left the country with no answers.

“We are in the beginning of the second coronavirus wave,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Sunday evening at a press conference, hours after the cabinet meeting ended. “From today, Sunday, I decided not to be the most right-wing person and to make all the decisions considering both the health and economic needs of the country. I worked in conjunction with all the relevant ministers to open the event halls, cultural events, public transportation and more. But I always emphasized that if we will not carefully maintain all the guidelines it will lead to things being closed.”

He said that “not enough people listened” and even though he “led steps to increase enforcement” the virus has continued to spread.

Edelstein’s comments came only hours after a harsh letter was sent to the Health Ministry by head of the Israeli Society for Infectious Diseases, Miri Weinberger, who warned that Israel is “about to lose control” of the coronavirus pandemic, and that “we are close to the point of no return where there will be mass infection and burdens of severely ill patients.”

She added that, “Over the past two weeks, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of daily infections of the coronavirus. In recent days, there has also been a rise in the ages of those diagnosed and hospitalized.”

 

The Health Ministry brought a series of recommendations to the coronavirus cabinet on Sunday, he said: limiting social gatherings to 20 people, events to 50 people and cultural events to 250 people; running summer camps in capsules; allowing prayer only in open spaces and with up to 19 people; and canceling any conferences or exhibitions.

According to the Israeli Health Ministry, 218 Israelis were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 within the last day. There have been 23,639 people diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic, and there are currently 6,265 active cases, among them 39 in serious condition. Some 318 people have died.

Read more via The Jerusalem Post

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