Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Thursday that the government will consider further tightening restrictions imposed on the citizens of Israel as part of the national effort against coronavirus.
"I estimate that in light of the current state of the disease and according to experts' recommendations, we may have no choice but to tighten restrictions," the premier said in a televised announcement from his residence. "I'll tell you this. I will not impose a lockdown on the citizens of Israel for nothing and I will not hesitate to add more restrictions if necessary."
Netanyahu's words follow a last-gasp round of discussions with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu, and various experts.
Netanyahu stressed that the upcoming 3-week lockdown that corresponds with the High Holidays follows a "red flag" raised by the health care system against the backdrop of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases in recent days.
"My duty and obligation as prime minister are to safeguard not only your health but also your life," the veteran prime minister said. "This is a situation in which medical teams struggle to keep up even after we have added beds and ventilators."
After Netanyahu was done speaking, Finance Minister Israel Katz announced a number of measures to help individuals and businesses hurt by the government-mandated restrictions aimed at containing the pathogen.
He also said he will push a proposal to lower the salaries of ministers and Knesset members.