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Netanyahu Warns of Total Lockdown if Coronavirus Guidelines Ignored

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned of a nationwide lockdown unless the public begins adhering to Health Ministry guidelines geared toward curbing the country’s coronavirus outbreak. In a rare non-election-related television interview on Wednesday evening, Netanyahu appealed specifically to the country’s ultra-Orthodox and Arab populations while contending that the nation’s response to the crisis was among the three or four best in the world. “We need to make sure that it continues this way,” he said, ominously adding: “If necessary, the order for a lockdown will be ready tomorrow.” On Thursday, Israeli officials upped the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 – the illness caused by the pathogen – to at least 529. The figure is expected to rise significantly over the weekend as authorities increase the rate of testing. In this respect, Israel’s Mossad spy agency acquired 100,000 coronavirus test kits from unspecified countries, although they apparently lacked the specific components needed by health workers. Worst-case scenario models predict that over one million Israelis could become infected, meaning about 15% of all citizens. The Health Ministry this week instructed people to remain at home unless absolutely necessary, whereas the government ordered a full closure of the borders to all foreigners.