(PresidentialWire.com)- Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, announced on Thursday that he may resort to further lockdowns and is stopping any further easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions until cases of the Chinese coronavirus start going down again.
“There is no doubt that we have to stop the disease, it has come back,” he said during a ceremony for Moshe Bar Siman Tov, who is leaving his post as the Health Ministry director-general. “We are done for the time being with the opening the economy, there is another question of opening the airport, but we are not going to open any more at the moment.”
Israel could be forced into lockdown for weeks or even months more, depending on how much the virus continues to spread. At a time when the United States and the United Kingdom are reopening their economies, it will no doubt come as a disappointment to Israelis.
The number of active cases of the Wuhan Virus increased to 4,092 on Thursday, which was more than double the cases at the start of June.
“We are seeing an increase in morbidity that we must curb, and we will do what is necessary, as we did at the beginning of the epidemic in our country,” Netanyahu said.
He told the press that there was “no alternative for changing the public’s habits” and that if people don’t abide by social distancing rules and don’t minimize social interaction, he would be forced to implement “more aggressive measures, including lockdowns.”
Netanyahu announced the lockdown in mid-March, and unlike some countries, has been flexible in relaxing and re-enforcing those rules as the virus infection rate changes. The lockdown measures successfully flattened the curve but completely shut down the national economy. In April, Netanyahu announced the return to a national lockdown that spanned the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Watch: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a national lockdown beginning Tuesday and ending on Friday to try to stem the spread of the new #coronavirus during the Jewish holiday of Passover.https://t.co/KkEc8FXGsC pic.twitter.com/ePSposIIkB
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 7, 2020
Netanyahu, during the ceremony, praised the work done by Bar Siman Tov in handling the crisis and thanked him for “standing up I the face of waves of criticism,” which he described as “vicious.”