Two senior Israeli health officials joined in a growing number of critics Thursday castigating the government’s plans to impose regular weekend lockdowns across the country.
Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist from Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and the chief of Israel’s doctors’ union, blasted the decision by a ministers’ forum headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to endorse plans to impose nationwide lockdowns every weekend.
“If a sweeping decision is made to impose lockdowns every weekend or to prevent access to open areas – that has no epidemiological basis. In order to maintain the public’s trust and the public health, decisions must be made transparently, in a planned manner, on the basis of epidemiological reasoning and statistics, not on the basis of political calculations. There are other strategies,” Levine tweeted.
The Israeli president of the World Medical Association, Leonid Eidelman, also criticized the decision to impose new nationwide lockdowns, calling it an “admission” of failure.
“There is no other way to interpret it, Eidelman told Yediot Aharonot Thursday.
“Let’s say we impose a nationwide lockdown today, it means the government has failed [to curb the virus] since the beginning of June,” he said.
“At first there was mass hysteria, then they [the government] said: go out, live your life, we defeated the virus.”
Eidelman accused the government of “just wasting time” during the first lockdown, and that the government had failed to prepare for a resurgence of the virus.
“We warned the disease would return … it was a matter of time.”
Modi’in Mayor Haim Bibas also criticized the government’s plans to impose new restrictions, in particular the proposed closure of all summer schools.
“The government is losing the public’s trust with its lack of sense. Why do they want to close summer schools, when the infection rate has been only 0.14%?”
“Someone is tricking the public and pushing with full force for the economy to be shut down.”
Former Defense Minister and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett also slammed the new planned restrictions, calling the decision “illogical and destructive.”
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that the ministerial forum headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had endorsed a plan to impose new restrictions aimed at combating the coronavirus, including nationwide lockdowns imposed every weekend.
Contrary to initial reports, however, the first weekend lockdown will not be imposed until next week at the earliest.
The government is set to meet at 8:30 p.m. Thursday to deliberate on the proposed restrictions, which include the closure of on-site dining at restaurants – with takeout and delivery services allowed to remain open – and the closing of public pools, beaches, gyms, and summer school programs.
In addition, synagogue services will be limited to 10 people at any given time, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.
Source: Arutz Sheva
Education Minister Yoav Galant said at the cabinet meeting to discuss imposing new coronavirus restrictions that the rate of infections in schools does not justify closing the educational institutions.