Government Advisers Warn of ‘Devastating’ Second Coronavirus Outbreak
A team of senior advisers to the National Security Council sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on Saturday, warning of an imminent second outbreak of coronavirus with potentially “devastating” consequences. The team, headed by Prof. Eli Vaksman of the Weizmann Institute, cautioned that Israel “has lost control over the virus” as numbers of newly-infected citizens grow daily and at a steady pace. The experts also noted the fact that the cases are spread out over the entire country, making it difficult to isolate and cut off chains of infection. According to the letter, if the government fails to act swiftly in the coming days, a second “total lockdown of the population will be inevitable, wreaking havoc on the economy and society.” The experts place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Dr. Sigal Sadetsky, head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, accusing her of failing to establish an effective apparatus for identifying and breaking the chains of infection. “This is the main reason for the current outbreak and loss of control,” they said. On Saturday, 621 new cases were identified in Israel, the highest single-day figure since early April. Three people died of the virus over the weekend, one of them a 19-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, bringing the total number of deceased to 318.