Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday that the government will have to tighten current coronavirus restrictions after an upcoming 3-week nationwide lockdown that is set to come into effect on Friday.
"In this current situation before the lockdown, whoever thinks we will see the number of cases drop to 500-1000 a day has no Idea what he's talking about," Edelstein said.
"Not only will there not be any easing of the restrictions already in place, we may even have to increase them."
The minister went on to say: "My impression is that that the country doesn't grasp that there's a virus running amok, which worries me. I'm honestly saying to those who think the situation is going to get any more encouraging that they're wrong. We will deal with these restrictions over time, and as I said, we may even tighten them."
The health minister expressed hope that the public will cooperate with authorities, reducing the need for extensive enforcement of health ordinance.
"There won't be a cop or inspector coming to check every workplace, nor will there be a situation where they stop every car on the road and question the passengers," he said, "If the public understands that this is not an irrational punishment, but the medical action of the country's best experts, then we will not need enforcement. We can't enforce this on millions of people. I assume that most Israeli citizens are law-abiding, unlike those on social media calling for rebellion. I hope that people will leave home only for work."
Edelstein also spoke about the government's decision on Wednesday, to shut down the education system as of Thursday, a day before the general lockdown comes into effect, saying he and the ministers believed such a move could prevent thousands of Israelis from contracting the virus.
"Several hundred schools and even more preschools have already closed due to the outbreak," Edelstein said. "There are some places where half of the education system is already closed, and even worse, the teachers are in quarantine. In the current situation, we assumed that even a single day could spare us thousands of infections."