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PM Netanyahu says public to wear masks when outside; children, elderly to get stipends

Netanyahu details further steps to be taken amid the coronavirus crisis:

The public is called upon to wear masks at all times when outside the house.

All Israelis returning from abroad will henceforth be taken to hotels for quarantine, and will not be allowed to self-isolate at home.

All families with children will receive NIS 500 ($140) stipends for each child (up to four children) for the Passover holiday. Every elderly person will also receive such a grant.

The prime minister says if the public adheres to instructions, maintains social distancing and does not fall to the temptation to meet family members for the Passover holiday, “there is a chance that this Passover will be a turning point” in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

“We are still in the midst of an international tsunami,” he says. “This a huge storm. The whole world is on a united front.”

He says he spoke with Italy’s prime minister in recent days, who told him to take severe action early rather than late to prevent replicating the tragedy unfolding in Italy here.

Netanyahu warns that Israel could still find itself joining nations where people are dying in large numbers. “We are doing everything so we don’t get to that.”

First and foremost “we must save the lives of thousands in Israel.”