Ronni Gamzu
Ronni Gamzu Health Ministry

Israel’s Coronavirus Czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, lamented Israel’s early end to the first nationwide lockdown earlier this year, saying that the government had been ‘irresponsible’ in its exit strategy for the first lockdown.

Speaking less than 24 hours before the country’s second nationwide lockdown is set to go in effect Friday afternoon, Gamzu said Israel likely has the highest infection rate in the world, claiming that there is no alternative to a second national lockdown.

“Israel is completely covered in red and orange,” said Gamzu, referring to cities and towns with high and medium-to-high levels of infection. “The virus is spreading.”

“The number of infections on average per day has gone up a hundredfold in the course of four months, and it is likely the highest in the world. The rate of infection has accelerated, and the level of positive tests signals that there is a large number of infections we’re not seeing.”

Gamzu went on to say that the country did not follow an exit strategy following the first lockdown, and no preparations were made for a second wave of infections.

“We didn’t build up the infrastructure needed during the first wave. Our desire to get back to normal overwhelmed our rationality, and we ended the lockdown in record time in an irresponsible, unmonitored way. We also responded to the second wave slowly, we didn’t put together a national strategy in time.”

Gamzu spoke out as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu weighs imposing stricter limitations during the upcoming second lockdown than were originally approved by the government.

If Netanyahu does decide to pursue additional restrictions for the upcoming lockdown, the government will convene Thursday evening to vote on the proposed changes to the lockdown plan.

At the same time, the Knesset's Constitution Committee is expected to approve one lessening of the lockdown's restrictions - expanding the distance Israelis will be allowed to travel from their homes. Currently the limit is 500 meters, with the committee expected to raise that distance to one kilometer.

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