Gamzu: Full Lockdown Will Have ‘Tremendous’ Cost to Economy

Professor Ronni Gamzu. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Israel’s coronavirus commissioner, Professor Ronni Gamzu, reiterated his opposition to the new lockdown restrictions, saying the economic harm will be “tremendous.”

The lockdown is set to begin on Friday at 2 p.m., and will see nearly all businesses closed, flights canceled, tefillos and public protests severely curtailed, public transportation scaled back dramatically and Israelis still ordered to remain within one kilometer (0.6 mile) of their home.

“I recommended a less severe tightening of the lockdown, but the government decided otherwise and I respect that,” Gamzu said during a tour of Shuafat in Yerushalayim, one of the virus hotspots in the capital.

“Obviously when you lock down more tightly you will slow the infection rate more significantly, but the economic cost is going to be tremendous. Even so, the government has the authority to make that call. It made the decision after careful consideration, and if they decided on a tighter closure, that’s fine by me. We’re going to go with that. It will help stop infections.”

He added: “The morbidity rate is very worrying. We could maybe have closed less, but the government’s decision is a message to the public. If the government reached the point where it’s imposing such a tight closure of all commerce and economic activity, that should say something about how widespread the infections have become.”

The government’s decision to tighten lockdown measures follow recommendations by the Coronavirus Cabinet on Wednesday night and was approved in a Cabinet vote Thursday morning. It is set to win final approval in Knesset legislation later Thursday.