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Italy or Spain can happen here, Health Ministry director-general warns

Prime Minister Netanyahu begins his statement on the coronavirus.

“Happily we haven’t lost anyone. This won’t last,” he says at his office. “This isn’t a kids game… it’s a matter of life and death.”

Netanyahu says he’s announcing three more steps:

  • These include a better ability to track down those who might have been exposed to the virus, which the government will be able to do after having approved “digital tracking” measures yesterday.
  • He says Israel will also significantly ramp up its testing for coronavirus, claiming a potential ability to carry out 5,000 tests a day.
  • He also asks Israelis to demonstrate “discipline and responsibility” to help curb the spread of the virus.

Taking the podium after Netanyahu, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov warns there could be a large rise in infections if people do not adhere to instructions meant to curb the spread of the virus.

“We estimate that scenarios like in Italy or Spain can happen here,” he says. “Even in our best scenarios there will be people who die and thousands infected.”

Moshe Bar Siman-Tov vows doctors and nurses will receive sufficient medical gear, amid complaints they lack enough protective equipment while dealing with the coronavirus.