Israel’s Health Minister: ‘No scenario in which we lift curfew in 10 days’

The lockdown will not end abruptly on Oct. 10 but will instead be lifted in stages. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has been the harbinger of bad news lately. He added to his tale of woes by disappointing anyone who thought the lockdown would lift after the end of the holidays, when it is currently timed to end.

“The closure will not be lifted – unequivocally. There is no scenario that in 10 days we will lift everything and say, ‘everything is over, everything is fine,” Edelstein told Kan News on Tuesday.

“We will leave gradually and responsibly, and no pressure will help,” he said in another interview with Army Radio.

“We are also preparing for difficult scenarios and because there is an increase in patients, this can be reflected in [a rise in] serious patients. In hospitals, there are difficult preparations at the expense of other departments, but this is the order of the hour and we are preparing for it,” he said.

Israel Hayom reports on Tuesday that the government’s corona cabinet will meet the next day to discuss a new emergency plan – in fact the third emergency plan the cabinet has reviewed in the past two weeks.

The government has defended itself by saying it is adjusting itself as the situation demands. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has noted on a couple of occasions that he warned at the end of the first wave that Israel would tighten and loosen in the corona crisis like an accordion. However, the Israeli public has reacted with irritation to the changing rules.

According to the new plan put forward by Netanyahu, there will be three stages to the lockdown. Israel is currently in the first, a near total lockdown. The second stage begins at the end of the Sukkot holiday, Oct. 10 (assuming that first stage is not extended – the government has reserved the right to do so). In the second stage, restrictions will be loosened though details not yet decided. The third stage will be a return to the “corona routine’ – presumably masks and social distancing.

Israel entered the tight lockdown after its corona numbers spiraled – hitting as many as 7,000 infections per day. The Coronavirus Task Force, run by the IDF, reports Tuesday that Israel has passed the U.S. in the daily death count relative to the population.

The number of daily infections reported Tuesday was 1,121. The number of total active infections is just over 65,000, of which 755 are in serious condition and 207 are on respirators, both record highs in Israel.