'A lockdown would be a disaster for Israelis'

'Lockdown will leave many Israelis impoverished.' Chairwoman of Knesset's Coronavirus Committee urges ministers to reject planned lockdown.

David Rosenberg ,

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton
MK Yifat Shasha-Biton
צילום: עדינה ולמן, דוברות הכנסת

The chairwoman of the Knesset’s Coronavirus Committee lambasted the Health Ministry’s plan for a new nationwide lockdown, and urged the government to vote down the proposal.

In a video message shared via social media Sunday afternoon, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Likud) warned that, if implemented, the new national lockdown would be “disastrous” for most Israelis.

“This is a last-minute appeal to members of the government to nullify the general lockdown plan” wrote Shasha-Biton.

“There is no question that the coronavirus is a serious illness and we have to fight it. But a general lockdown would be a disastrous collective blow to most Israelis – an unnecessary one, which would result in us getting back to this same point.”

“A general lockdown would lead to financial catastrophe for millions of workers and business owners. Many people whose lives were fine beforehand will be impoverished. That isn’t an exaggeration. That already happened during the first lockdown, and this will turn into a disaster if there is an additional lockdown.”

Aside from the economic damage, Shasha-Biton also warned of serious psychological damage if a new lockdown is imposed.

“Lockdowns also create serious mental problems which we don’t discuss nearly enough: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, along with a total social breakdown, serious harm to public health by impacting important medical treatment.”

“Many health experts I spoke with, including some who have spoken out publicly in the media, are opposed, as I am, to a general lockdown for the reasons I raised.”

“The lockdown will cost the country billions of shekels.”

In place of a lockdown, Shasha-Biton called on the government to increase funding for the healthcare system and to help it expand its capacity for handling incoming patients.”

The Israeli government is set to vote Sunday on the Health Ministry's plan for a nationwide lockdown, which would include a two-week total lockdown, starting this Friday. During the lockdown, Israelis would be required to remain within 500 meters of their homes, except when leaving for essential needs, including purchasing food or medicine.

Following the two-week total lockdown, a partial lockdown would be maintained for two more weeks, barring Israelis from leaving their neighborhood or town of residence.



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