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Prof: Hagai Levine: ‘How long can people last in lockdown? People have limits’

The former chairman of Israel’s physicians’ union lambasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, accusing the government of deciding policy based on political interests rather than public health needs.

“We’re seeing a disconnect between the instructions from the government, which aren’t practical, and what’s happening on the ground,”

Prof. Hagai Levine, who resigned as chief of the doctors’ union to run for the Knesset on the Telem list, said during an interview with Kikar HaShabbat. “We’re seeing a lack of solutions, no answers to a public which needs answers for how to live with the virus.”

When asked why the current lockdown, which has lasted for roughly one month, including two weeks of intensified restrictions, has yet to significantly reduce infection rates, Prof. Levine said that after two prior lockdowns, the public has “grown weary” of government restrictions.

“This is a known phenomenon which we’ve seen around the world: ‘Pandemic fatigue’. How long can kids stay out of school? How long can people survive without making a living? There are limits.”

“Our recommendation, the recommendation of public medical physicians, was to employ a differential policy based on risk levels, differentiating both based on geography and based on the [risk-level] of activities.”

Levine blasted the government for barring outdoor in-person studies and closing outdoor shopping centers, including Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market.

He also slammed the government’s decision to limit the times public transportation is available, saying the move is counterproductive.

“We need to expand the times of public transportation. But instead they cut them. That’s absurd. We need to expand the times so as to make it less crowded.”

“We’re making two mistakes. We both have more than 4,000 people dead – most of whose deaths were preventable – and also extreme lockdowns that don’t make sense and simply crush Israeli society, health, the economy and creates tension between the different sectors of the population.”

“The main problem is mass indoor gatherings…if you’re invited to such an event, don’t go, that is a real danger.”

“Imposing rules, making decrees, which the public can’t adhere to is folly. Then you end up both having infections, because people end up doing other things, and you have people blaming entire sectors of the population, and we still have people dying.”

Levine accused the government of implementing coronavirus policy based on political interests, and hinted that the decisions taken were intended to help Prime Minister Netanyahu personally.

“I couldn’t remain silent any longer. When I was in the ‘experts cabinet’ they told me straight out – and all of the members there know this – ‘the decisions are political based on personal interests’.”

“What happened in the end? Netanyahu’s trial was delayed. He needed to come in and say that under no circumstances will he have his trial delayed so as to not arouse suspicions.”

“The thing that hurts the public’s trust in the government the most is when politicians make decisions based not on the public’s health needs but based instead on their own political interests.”

Source: David Rosenberg – Arutz Sheva