Rivlin: Quarantine Not A Holiday

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man sits at a beach in Ashkelon after Israel’s Health Ministry urged people not to leave their homes except to seek “vital needs and services,” Tuesday. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

As Israeli authorities moved the country toward total shutdown, President Reuven Rivlin admonished Israelis for not taking the coronavirus restrictions seriously.

“Dear citizens, the restrictions do not mean holidays! I request of you all to take very good care of yourselves!” said the president in a special message on Tuesday.

“I know very [well] that being closed up at home is not at all easy. I understand that the children need open spaces and that you parents also need some breathing room. But, nevertheless, we must not turn these days into leisure days, I hear that our beaches and hiking trails are bursting. The danger is real! Let me ask you again to follow the instructions regarding [social] distancing, and to keep away from gatherings. This is a real danger.”

Health Ministry director general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov also stressed the importance of heeding the onerous guidelines:

“These aren’t simple instructions. We are asking you to minimize as much as possible leaving your home,” he said in a video message. But, he said, “Anywhere you visit could have a sick person present, who could infect you. You yourself may be sick and not know it, and infect other people.”

Including in a list of instructions issued by the Ministry was “Do not leave home to go to parks, playgrounds, the beach, pool, libraries, museums, nature reserves and parks or other public spaces, except with children in a family framework or with a pet (by yourself).”

The official pleas came after local media reported on crowds of shoppers at supermarkets and people visiting beaches and parks. Familes of IDF conscripts crowded outside an induction center near Tel Aviv on Tuesday, despite military warnings to stay away.

Bar Siman-Tov’s deputy, Itamar Grotto, likewise lamented the situation: “People have not internalized the gravity of the situation,” Grotto told Ynet. “People are still behaving as if it’s a holiday… just stay at home,” he said.

Grotto said the ministry wanted to see an almost complete lockdown of the country, but the treasury was against it due to the ruinous impact on the economy.

“There is a real debate. I think we need to be stricter,” Grotto said. “With regard to the public sector most of our guidelines have been accepted, namely that only crucial employees should show up to work. But with regard to the private sector we are not there yet. Too many people are leaving their homes.”

Later on Tuesday, A “senior source” was quoted by Channel 12 with the dire warning;

“We are not Italy or Spain yet. But we are walking along the edge; one misstep and we’ll fall into the abyss. The public needs to be aware that there will be an increase in contagion in the coming days, and fatalities will come.”

“In 24 hours it will be too late. If we can locate all those who are infected, and the necessary distancing, we will beat the pandemic.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ was expected to address the nation again on the coronavirus at 9 p.m. local time.

Later on Tuesday, A “senior source” was quoted by Channel 12 with the dire warning;

“We are not Italy or Spain yet. But we are walking along the edge; one misstep and we’ll fall into the abyss. The public needs to be aware that there will be an increase in contagion in the coming days, and fatalities will come.”

“In 24 hours it will be too late. If we can locate all those who are infected, and the necessary distancing, we will beat the pandemic.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ was expected to address the nation again on the coronavirus at 9 p.m. local time.


Updated Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm add info

Updated Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 3:07 pm add info