‘Corona is not behind us,’ Netanyahu says, amid plans to heal economy

“I believe that with the cooperation of the general public, we will keep the economy open, lead to renewed economic growth and bring back jobs,” the prime minister told his cabinet Sunday.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel had relaxed the restrictions recently due to the low number of cases, but it appears that too many people may have been ignoring the rules altogether.

A sharp increase in confirmed infections over the past several days appears to come from a combination of the economy opening up and citizens failing to wear masks and keep social distancing as people embraced a “return to normality,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the Sunday morning cabinet meeting regarding an uptick in coronavirus cases in Israel over the past several days.

“Yesterday we received around 28 new cases with relatively low testing, meaning that this is a bigger number,” Netanyahu said. “We are interested, of course, in increasing the number of tests; we have the capability..

“Nevertheless, there is no doubt that there is a relative increase vis-à-vis what we became accustomed to in recent weeks, which is to say that corona is not behind us.

“In order to determine whether or not there is a genuine change in the trend,” he continued, “we will consider – over the coming days – our future steps, and we will change our policy accordingly if need be.”

He appealed to citizens, government ministers and Knesset members to “serve as examples and adhere to the rules: Wear masks, maintain distance and, of course, be strict about hygiene.”

The prime minister explained the “next three steps.” First, the purple badge standard from businesses “must be adapted to the true situation and the reality on the ground in the public sphere.”

“Next comes strict enforcement, including a network of inspectors that has not yet been activated and which must be activated, and boosting the network of testing as I have mentioned, in an initiated manner as well,” he said.

“I believe that with the cooperation of the general public, we will keep the economy open, lead to renewed economic growth and bring back jobs.”

Netanyahu also said that on Sunday, the finance minister will present the plan for encouraging employment, “but I particularly requested,” following discussions with Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, “that it be started after it is passed in the Knesset, and following consultations with ministers and perhaps the public as well, in order to determine the allocation of the amount that has been budgeted for this objective.”

Netanyahu said he also plans to begin formulating a five-year plan this week to assist the country’s Druze and Circassian communities.