Bennett: Millions of Israelis will catch Omicron

“We’re seeing numbers like never before.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

In a televised address ahead of a scheduled COVID cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that millions of Israelis would catch the Omicron strain of the coronavirus but vowed that the country would pull through.

“We’re facing a wave of infections that has hit the entire world. We’re seeing numbers like never before,” Bennett said. “Morbidity across the world is measured in the millions, and here too, we’ll reach several million cases.”

Ruling out a return to closures, the Prime Minister insisted that he would keep the economy and schools open as much as possible and protect the elderly, children, and others at-risk.

“Lockdowns don’t work,” he said.

Bennett also said the Finance Ministry agreed to an arrangement to compensate workers losing income as a result of contracting COVID or being forced to quarantine.

“I do not want people to lose their jobs. Firing someone is easy. I know, I managed business,” Bennett said. “We still remember the deserted businesses from previous waves. We will not leave the citizens to fend for themselves. All workers in the economy will receive payment from the first day of isolation and there will also be a solution for the self-employed.”

He called on Israelis to work at home as much as possible.

At the same time, he said that quarantine rules would be the same for children as they are adults, meaning unvaccinated children will likely spend more time in quarantine than their vaccinated classmates. Bennett added that the government will distribute home antigen tests in the coming weeks to families with children in school.

“The next few weeks will be tough, but we will pull through. Every one of us must take responsibility and not congregate unnecessarily. There’s no room for panic and no room for hysteria. The tsunami comes and goes,” Bennett concluded.

According to the Health Ministry, 41,154 people were confirmed positive for coronavirus on Monday.

Israel is currently dealing with 194,523 active cases of which 703 require hospitalization. Overall, 8,274 Israelis have died of COVID since the pandemic’s arrived in February 2020.