Lockdown Possible on Rosh Hashana

YERUSHALAYIM -
Newly appointed head of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Nachman Ash. (FLASH90)

Amid reports of over 700 new coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day, the possibility of a national lockdown looms for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Nachman Ash, the new director general of the Health Ministry, told Channel 13 on Thursday:

“I think that it could be that we’ll get to the point where we’ll say ‘we need a lockdown.’” I’m worried we might get there… in a few weeks, it’s possible we’ll get there,” he said.

The comment comes a day after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the nation that if people comply with the current moderate restrictions, “we could be finished” with Covid in “five weeks.” But it not, and morbidity increases, tougher restrictions will be unavoidable. He advised Israelis to cancel their summer vacation plans abroad, though the government has not reinstituted the travel ban.

Ash, too, said he is hopeful that with good compliance and enforcement, a lockdown — which would be Israel’s fourth since the COVID pandemic began — will not be necessary.

The Health Ministry said 765 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, of whom 71 were confirmed as carriers during testing at Ben Gurion Airport. After 56,075 tests had been conducted, the contagion rate now stands at 1.38%.

The ministry said 54 patients are in serious condition, an increase of one from the day earlier and a rise of nine from two days ago. At least 16 patients are connected to ventilators.

Two people died of coronavirus-related complications on Wednesday, putting the official death toll at 6,443.

In Israel, there are 5,372 active patients currently ill with the disease. Of those, 467 are in Tel Aviv, 283 in Netanya, 265 in Petach Tikvah, 180 in Rishon LeTzion, 155 in Yerushalayim, 151 in Kfar Saba, 142 in Cholon, 139 in Pardes Chana-Karkur, 128 in Ashdod, 122 in Kfar Yona, 113 in Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut, 111 in Herzliya and 101 in Chadera.