Israeli Official: If Infections Drop, We Will Ease Lockdown
Prof. Chezy Levy, director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry, says a nationwide lockdown scheduled to take effect on Friday for at least three weeks could be eased if daily rates for new coronavirus infections drop significantly. “If we see a drop to 1,000 [new daily] patients, proper [public] behavior and a downward trend in morbidity, and at the same time stabilization in the hospital system, this will be a positive sign to consider exiting the lockdown,” he told the Kan public broadcaster during a Monday interview. Infection rates have been steadily rising to some 4,000 a day, making Israel, on a per capita basis, the world leader in daily case counts. Hospital directors say there is room and equipment for more patients although medical professionals are at the breaking point, with major funding necessary for more staff or to retrain existing personnel. At the ministry’s urging, cabinet ministers on Sunday decided that the lockdown, to cover the upcoming holiday period, will bar people from traveling more than 500 meters from home except to shop for groceries or pharmaceuticals or to seek medical attention; shut schools, shops and places of entertainment; and limit restaurants to takeout or delivery service. Guidelines will be set later in the week for prayer gatherings over the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, all major religious holidays on the Jewish calendar.