Netanyahu takes lead in coronavirus fight, initiates call with world leaders

Netanyahu will present five steps to fight the coronavirus in a conference call with world leaders.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening said that he has initiated a conference call with world leaders to discuss the threats caused by the spreading coronavirus, and will present five steps necessary to fight the infection.

“We are acting on both the national and international levels. In the past 48 hours, we have seen a rise in the rate of infection. A 38-year-old patient is fighting for his life. The rate of infection cannot be estimated precisely but it is, apparently, higher than we figured,” Netanyahu said in a statement released on the Israeli government website.

The Ministry of Health announced on Saturday night that the number of cases of coronavirus in Israel has risen to 25.

“First of all, this is a global pandemic,” declared Netanyahu, “whether the CDC calls it such or not. It is a matter of days or hours. It is doubtful whether there has been a similar pandemic in the last 100 years. It seems that the rate of infection is greater than we figured and for the moment there is no vaccine.”

Netanyahu announced a five-part plan for combating the virus, beginning with the disinfection of public installations.

“This virus is sensitive to bleach and we must act in an orderly way to disinfect railway stations, bus stations, etc.,” he said.

“To this end, over the vacation period, which may be extended, I will mobilize young people, both in schools and in youth movements, in a very meticulous way, to help with the disinfection. I will also ask the IDF to take care of certain installations,” Netanyahu said.

Israeli schoolchildren will be on vacation March 9th through the 11th for the Purim holiday.

“Second, I intend to enlist the air force and make certain that we have the essential supply for Israel. I said that the supply chain has been interrupted for essential things as well, including drugs and raw materials for drugs,” Netanyahu said.

“Israel is in almost the best situation among countries of the world precisely because of the strict policy we initiated. Therefore, we are in control of the situation, thanks to the mobilization of aviation forces, and we intend to maintain this.

“Third, I seek to open a line of credit in order to provide a response for businesses and companies that will feel the pressure,” he said.

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“Fourth, we will mobilize the best minds in Israel to develop a broad test in order to ensure an industrial testing ability that will separate between ill and healthy people.”

Netanyahu also said that he will make use of his ties with the leaders of certain countries.

The prime minister said that he has spoken with world leaders over the past 48 hours and initiated a conference call to be held this week in order to see how countries will be able to help each other.

“We will help them and they will help us. There are things that it is possible to give. I will do what is necessary to safeguard the health of the citizens of Israel,” he said.

The prime minister also asked that people strictly follow instructions issued by the Health Ministry.

“Do not shake hands. Avoid touching your face and if you do, use a tissue. These are things that will stop, reduce or slow the spread of the pandemic. Look after the instructions and we will look after you. We will work together responsibly and calmly while upholding our promises. With G-d’s help, we will overcome the crisis together,” he said.