Netanyahu Berates Israelis as Country’s Coronavirus Cases Spike
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a scathing rebuke of citizens who are not following government guidelines aimed at curbing the country’s coronavirus outbreak. “This isn’t child’s play. It’s not summer vacation. It’s a matter of life and death,” Netanyahu said Tuesday evening during a televised news conference. He was referring to Israelis who continued to visit public places such as beaches and parks. “This is a huge crisis,” he stressed, “[and] we are only at the start of the campaign – the crux is yet before us.” Netanyahu’s appeal for “discipline and responsibility” came just hours after health officials issued updated regulations calling on people to remain at home unless absolutely necessary. The number of confirmed infections in Israel increased sharply overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, with 90 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the pathogen, bringing the total number in the country to 427. During the same news conference, the director-general of the Health Ministry specified that Israeli hospitals could soon be overflowing with COVID-19 patients and unable to treat everyone. “In the coming days… the rate of new cases will rise to 100 a day or more,” Moshe Bar Siman-Tov warned. “We may come to a situation of hundreds more each day.… Unfortunately, in scenarios we have, many thousands [of Israelis] could die.” According to reports, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan believes that a total lockdown is a matter of when, not if, and has instructed police to devise a plan to enforce prospective measures.