As the number of coronavirus cases continued its upward trajectory, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again warned Israelis on Wednesday night that if the rate doesn’t slow very soon the government will have no choice but to impose a complete lockdown.
Netanyahu stressed that “everybody must obey (the new health regulations) without fail, they save lives,” and asserted that new restrictions went into effect on Wednesday in order to protect the country from experiencing the kind of severe outbreak seen in Spain and Italy.
He said there could be thousands of new cases soon, “many of whom will be at the risk of death.”
“Your pleas for work and a livelihood enter my heart,” he said, “we will help one another to get through it.”
He said he did not know when the crisis would ease, but “with the help of Hashem, we’ll return to normal days.”
Addressing reports on a shortage of ventilators, the prime minister Netanyahu said Israel is making significant efforts to acquire additional medical equipment.
Prior to his speech, Netanyahu was quoted by Channel 12 as telling cabinet ministers last night they could face a critical shortage of ventilators.
“If the current pace of infection continues for another 15 days [that is, with the number of cases doubling every three days], we’ll find ourselves in a situation where we’ll have to decide who to put on ventilators and who not,” he said.
Israel carried out over 5,000 coronavirus tests on Wednesday.
Over the past 24 hours, 439 new coronavirus cases were reported in Israel. A slight improvement over the 488 new cases in the preceding 24 hours period between Monday and Tuesday.
The Health Ministry said there are now 2,369 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, with 39 people in serious condition.
Another 64 people are in moderate condition. Five people have died from COVID-19.