Israel Braces for Lockdown Called ‘Ineffective’ by Government
Less than 48 hours before Israel enters a total lockdown, its second in four months, the national testing system partially collapsed on Wednesday, leaving tens of thousands without access to the diagnostic tests they sought. The Israeli military, which operates the coronavirus testing facilities known as “drive-ins,” announced that all but five compounds in the country, along with the labs tasked with reading the tests, had reached their full capacity and would be shut down for at least two days. Also on Wednesday, the Israeli government decided to move up by one day the planned closure of all schools, at the behest of alarmed coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu. The country’s school system will shut down on Thursday while the entire country will enter lockdown Friday noon. Still, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch was pessimistic about the closure’s chances of turning things around. “We can’t expect the lockdown to cause a meaningful dip in the number of infections,” Kisch said Wednesday. Over 5,500 new cases were diagnosed in Israel over the past 24 hours, at a 10% positivity rate.