Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened a lengthy discussion with Coronavirus Czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu and several cabinet ministers Thursday evening, during which Netanyahu asked for a more severe and tighter lockdown.
Minutes from the discussion were published by Channel 12 News, revealing that the debate was heated and that Prime Minister Netanyahu was unhappy with the relatively light restrictions which will go into effect tomorrow at 2 pm.
Prof. Gamzu: "I do not think a long-term closure is the answer to Corona. If we were at 2,000 infections per day and were not at the holidays, I would not take any such step but only implement the 'traffic light' model. The public is not with us, and we must also consider the economy. Even if I go out to the public and say that every week we will have 1,000 dead, it will not convince the public. The public is not there."
PM Netanyahu: "Am I imprisoning the citizen at home without it being useful?"
Prof. Gamzu: "What happened in March-April is not what is happening in September. We are all trapped in the perception that we will impose a closure on them and they will sit at home. We are now in a psychological process, clarifying to Israeli citizens that we're closing businesses and introducing restrictions on movement. This will prevent morbidity."
PM Netanyahu: "What will we achieve in this situation we are heading to?"
Prof. Gamzu: "I guess we will see some stabilization and decline. We may go down to 3,000-4,000 infections per day, but no less than that."
PM Netanyahu: "So what will happen next? I understood the difficulties, what will we say next after we bring a result of 3,000 patients after this closure?"
Prof. Gamzu: "Expectations must be coordinated with the public. The public mood of March-April cannot be replicated."
Health Minister Edelstein: "There will be no escape from implementing serious restrictions. We targeted it at the holidays so people can live with it better. We have reached a perforated closure with restrictions that cause strong feelings. The public asks what will happen after the closure and we go back to the answer of cutting the contagion chains to 2,000 or 3,000 infected per day."
PM Netanyahu: “The lockdown is becoming a joke, not a light closure, but a fake closure. If the 500-meter limit is removed, there will not be much left."