Health Ministry DG: New Lockdown Would Last at Least a Month

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli police seen at the entrance to the neighborhood of Ramot in Yerushalayim as Israel enforces a night curfew to some 40 cities which have been badly affected by the coronavirus, Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After the government enforced a nighttime curfew on 40 authorities, it seems that this was only a preliminary step, and the country may be on the cusp of a full closure in the lead-up to the chagim. Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Chezy Levy said Tuesday night that if the country shuts down, it will be for at least a month.

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu convened the heads of Israel’s largest hospitals Tuesday night for a meeting about the growing rate of infection. According to a report by Channel 12, Levy said that if a country-wide lockdown is decided upon, it will last about a month and no less.

“A closure of two or three weeks will not be enough to make the required change,” Levy said.

According to the report, the heads of the hospitals are also pushing for a closure, as the number of patients hospitalized in serious condition continues to rise.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported that 3,506 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus the day before; a new high. There were 470 patients in serious condition, of whom 140 were intubated.

The death toll also rose, reaching 1,048.

Nearly all the hospitals are reporting heavy loads of patients, all beds full and a concern that they will be unable to care properly for their patients.

The heads of hospitals contended that the earlier the closure takes effect, the greater chance that it will be shorter.

On Thursday, Gamzu is expected to reveal a plan for how to handle the chagim in Tishrei with such high infection rates. For now, it appears that his recommendations are likely to include closing the streets to ensure that people eat their Yom Tov meals only with their immediate family, closing schools, businesses and retail outlets, and closing restaurants.