Police enforce health directives in Jerusalem

Health Ministry #2: lockdown still possible in coronavirus fight

Grotto does not believe night time curfews will be enough to curb the spread of COVID-19 and recommends High Holiday celebrations be limited to no more than 20 people gathering together; Gamzu says despite political intervention he must find a way to bring down infection rate

Adir Yanko, Attila Somfalvi |
Updated: 09.08.20 , 11:57
Health Ministry No. 2 Professor Itamar Grotto said on Tuesday that a full lock-down to fight the spread of coronavirus is still on the table.
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  • "We must give the night-time curfew on highly infected cities that is due to be imposed a chance, but It will not be enough on its own to stop the spread of the virus.
    המשטרה מחלקת דוחותהמשטרה מחלקת דוחות
    Police enforce health directives in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Haim Golditch )
    The list of cities and localities identified as red zones that are expected to night time restrictions was being reviewed by ministers as Grotto warned the new measures may not come into effect on Tuesday as planned.
    "We believe it would be wise to hold holiday celebrations with immediate family members and in groups numbering no more than 20 people," Grotto said adding that travel restrictions may be necessary.
    He would not comment on the necessity to close schools during the High Holidays accept to say that during August, while schools were on summer holiday, infections were already on the rise. "People just ignored health directives," Grotto said.
    בדיקת קורונה מתחם היבדק וסע מד"א מזרח ירושליםבדיקת קורונה מתחם היבדק וסע מד"א מזרח ירושלים
    Testing for coronavirus in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: AFP)
    "I would rather not wage into political questions regarding mass demonstrations," the senior official said when asked to comment on the thousands of protesters that had been gathering outside the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for his resignation.
    "I imaging there is some contagion in those events but we have no data showing they are super spreaders.
    הפגנה של עולם התרבות מול מעון רה"מ בבלפורהפגנה של עולם התרבות מול מעון רה"מ בבלפור
    Protesters call for the resignation of Prime Minister Netanyahu outside his home in Jerusalem
    (Photo" Shalev Shalom)
    The coronavirus czar appointed by Netanyahu's government Professor Ronni Gamzu who has seen his well laid out plan to lower contagion of COVID-19 delayed by ministers, told Ynet on Monday that he must continue on his course despite being slammed by politicians over restrictions he had advocated for predominately ultra-Orthodox and Arab areas hardest hit by the virus.
    The prime minister had reversed his government's decision to adopt Gamzu's plan in what was seen as a capitulation to political pressure imposed by his Haredi coalition partners.
    סגר בשכונות החרדיות בירושלים רוממה ובעלזסגר בשכונות החרדיות בירושלים רוממה ובעלז
    An ultra-Orthodox man at a police roadblock at the entrance to his neighborhood in Jerusalem during a partial lockdown
    (Photo: AFP)
    "On a personal level I must not be discouraged when my professional advise is rejected and ministers opt for a different path. I cannot give up. I have not changed my opinion but must accept the government's decisions," Gamzu said.
    "If I cannot convince ministers one way, I must find another effective way to combat the spread of coronavirus. I just bite my tongue and continue trying to do my job."

    First published: 11:26 , 09.08.20
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