'If number of patients on ventilators rises we'll mull lockdown'

Health Ministry's Deputy Director-General warns that nationwide lockdown could be in the offing if number of patients on ventilators rises.

Tags: Coronavirus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Doctor holds hand of coronavirus patient
Doctor holds hand of coronavirus patient

A senior Israeli health official warned Tuesday morning that the country may be forced to return to a full lockdown if the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients continues to rise.

Prof. Itamar Grotto, the Deputy Director-General of the Health Ministry, spoke with 103FM Radio Tuesday about the new restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Grotto said Israel’s healthcare system is better equipped now to handle outbreaks of the virus, but warned that if the number of patients on ventilators rises too quickly, the country could be forced back into lockdown.

“The hospitalization system today is much more prepared and ready, and that’s an important thing. There has been a clear connection between the reopening of the economy and the increase in the pandemic. Europe is also beginning to see this. I believe that they [the Europeans] will pass us soon, they just opened up more slowly.”

Regarding the possibility of a second lockdown. Grotto said “We don’t want to get there, but if we see that there is a rise in the number of people on ventilators and we can’t handle it, then we’ll reconsider [a new lockdown].”

Despite the increase in the total number of confirmed coronavirus patients in Israel, the number of patients on ventilators has remained low, with just 35 patients on assisted breathing as of Tuesday morning, compared to 34 on Monday.