‘This is a matter of life and death’: Netanyahu announces 3 new coronavirus guidelines

“I will do everything in my ability so that we successfully overcome this test, We’re only at the start of the battle,” Netanyahu said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In a dramatic press conference that followed by only 24 hours one he had given on Monday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced three more steps to fight the spread of the coronavirus in Israel.

The first was reiterating the use of tracking technology to follow the steps of those with the disease or suspected of having it. Approval of the technology, used by Israel’s internal security service to fight terror, has led to criticism from certain circles worried about the ramifications for the privacy of the country’s citizens.

Netanyahu said Israel would dramatically expand the use of the tracking technology. He said 14-day isolation for those who are expected to do is a requirement that will be enforced.

The second step, he said, is that the number of coronavirus tests will expand dramatically to 3,000 a day at least. He said this will be the largest number of daily tests conducted by any country in the world, more than one mandating the largest number currently, South Korea, which tests 1,500 a day.

Netanyahu said that Magen David Adom, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, will man drive-in testing stations, where people can be tested from their cars, a method which will help protect against the spread of the disease.

Third, the prime minister said that that capability of hospitals to treat the disease will expand dramatically. He said 1,000 more artificial respirators will be added to the health system.

Netanyahu also pleaded with the public to take responsibility and act with discipline.

“None of these steps will help without discipline,” the prime minister said, noting that parts of the public haven’t yet grasped the danger.

“There are people who think this is a time for vacation,” he said. “When I watch the television, I don’t believe what I see.”

“This is not a child’s game. This is life and death,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu, referring to the guidelines issued on Monday, said that the recommendations regarding who could go to work and when to leave the house were “a suggestion, a request.” However, warning of the possibility they could be enforced, said “This can change.”

“I will do everything in my ability so that we successfully overcome this test, We’re only at the start of the battle,” Netanyahu said.

Moshe Bar Siman Tov, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Health, who has become the point man for fighting the disease, spoke afterwards.

He repeated the prime minister’s concern that “there’s not enough internalization among the public.”

Bar Siman Tov said that it was natural to think that “this won’t happen to us… but it depends on your behavior.”

He said that Israel was seeing a rise not only in the number of cases but in the rate they were happening.

He warned that while there haven’t been any deaths in Israel from coronavirus until now, the Health Ministry feared “in the end, there will be people who die from the disease. This can happen in the coming days.”

He spoke of the possibility of thousands dying. “We want to shrink this number as much as possible.”

“This is not the time to go to the park, to the beach or to visit grandma and grandpa,” he said.

“The way you protect grandma and grandpa and your mother and father is not to visit them,” he said.

“We prefer that we do this without enforcement. If need be, we will turn to enforcement, but we don’t want to arrive at that point,” the director general said.