‘We’re in a global pandemic,’ Netanyahu says, as Israel’s coronavirus cases exceed 100

“We are in a global pandemic,” the prime minister said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has surpassed 100, the Ministry of Health reported on Thursday.

Of those infected, 92 are in hospital. Five are not yet hospitalized and three have recovered and returned to their homes.

Two of those hospitalized are described as in serious condition. One, a bus driver, 38, from eastern Jerusalem is considered the most serious case. He is suffering from high fever and acute pneumonia.

Israel has taken more drastic steps than most countries in its attempt to contain the spread of the virus. It has required that all those returning to Israel, citizens and foreigners alike, remain in isolation for two weeks. Foreigners must prove they have a place to stay.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in remarks on Wednesday evening after a meeting to discuss the coronavirus, described Israel’s efforts to prevent more infected people from entering the country as dealing with the “outer layer.”

Netanyahu said that the nation must now turn its eye to domestic policy.

“In this crisis, after having dealt with and closed the outer layer, or reduced it and tightened it greatly… we are now compelled to change domestic routines,” he said.

The main change the prime minister announced was a new regulation reducing gatherings to no more than 100 people – with exceptions for health and military needs

“We are safeguarding the country well but we need to effect behavioral changes so that we can continue to safeguard ourselves well and get through this crisis. Do not gather,” he said.

The prime minister reiterated his warning to the public not to engage in typical greetings during normal times, such as shaking hands and hugging.

He also repeated the government’s determination to set aside NIS 10 billion in economic aid to help businesses survive lost business due to the crisis.

“We are in a global pandemic,” the prime minister said. “With God’s help and the cooperation of all of us, we will overcome this crisis.”