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Health Ministry urges Israelis to vote, says no need to worry about coronavirus

The director-general of the Health Ministry on Sunday said Israelis should not hesitate to go out and vote in Monday’s national elections, and should not be deterred by the deadly coronavirus.

“The situation is under control. Everyone who was infected with the coronavirus, we know where they were infected and this is important… it’s safe to go vote. Don’t hesitate… go vote,” Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said in a video statement.

Bar Siman-Tov said 16 special polling stations across the country have been set up for the 5,630 people who are under home quarantine after returning from trips abroad and there are special instructions for those individuals.

“For everyone else, I say, go vote, everything is safe and you don’t need to worry,” he said.

In a statement, the Health Ministry added that the general public need not take any special precautions when voting, though it urged voters and those staffing polling stations to maintain proper hygiene.

“The [voting] booths in Israel are safe and it is safe to go and vote,” the ministry said.

During a visit to a Magen David Adom ambulance service emergency center on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declared that there was nothing to fear and that proper measures have been taken to ensure a safe election.

“We care about the health of the citizens. You can go to vote without concern, things are under control,” Netanyahu said during the visit, which he made together with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, the Ynet website reported. “We are in the midst of a global crisis, but there is no country that is better prepared than us.”

As the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, the Health Ministry instructed Israelis returning from several countries where the virus was detected to self-quarantine. So far, seven Israelis have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The special voting stations for those in quarantine will be set up in Jerusalem, Safed, Afula Illit, Haifa, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Holon, Beersheba, Ashkelon, Eilat, Rosh Ha’ayin, Modiin, and Kfar Saba, the Health Ministry said.

Those in quarantine were instructed to take precautions such as putting on face masks before they exit their vehicles and to try to make the trip to the voting station without being accompanied by others who are not in quarantine. They are also prohibited from stopping along the way to and from the voting stations.

Anyone who shows symptoms of the disease is forbidden from using even the special voting stations, the ministry warned.

In a statement, the Health Ministry added that the general public need not take any special precautions when voting, though it urged voters and those staffing polling stations to maintain proper hygiene.

“The [voting] booths in Israel are safe and it is safe to go and vote,” the ministry said.

During a visit to a Magen David Adom ambulance service emergency center on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declared that there was nothing to fear and that proper measures have been taken to ensure a safe election.

“We care about the health of the citizens. You can go to vote without concern, things are under control,” Netanyahu said during the visit, which he made together with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, the Ynet website reported. “We are in the midst of a global crisis, but there is no country that is better prepared than us.”

As the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, the Health Ministry instructed Israelis returning from several countries where the virus was detected to self-quarantine. So far, seven Israelis have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The special voting stations for those in quarantine will be set up in Jerusalem, Safed, Afula Illit, Haifa, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Holon, Beersheba, Ashkelon, Eilat, Rosh Ha’ayin, Modiin, and Kfar Saba, the Health Ministry said.

Those in quarantine were instructed to take precautions such as putting on face masks before they exit their vehicles and to try to make the trip to the voting station without being accompanied by others who are not in quarantine. They are also prohibited from stopping along the way to and from the voting stations.

Anyone who shows symptoms of the disease is forbidden from using even the special voting stations, the ministry warned.

The Health Ministry has faced criticism for its extreme measures, with some saying it is unnecessarily panicking people and causing economic and diplomatic damage to the country. Ministry officials have said they prefer to take a strict line than be sorry later.

Israel heads to its third national election in a year on Monday.