Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday warned that if Israeli public continues to disregard health orders, the government would have to take "firm measures" to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Netanyahu made the comments during a special farewell ceremony for Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov, outgoing director general of the Health Ministry, who resigned last month amid accusations of recommending harsher-than-necessary restrictions to combat COVID-19.
"There is no other way but for the public to change its behavior. If not, then we will have to take firm measures," Netanyahu said.
"We are halting the reopening [of the economy] and are working to ensure the curve is flattened," he added. "We will take the necessary steps to ensure the increase [in infection] is stopped, including applying breathable closures."
Netanyahu then praised Bar-Siman-Tov's dedication to his job despite the harsh criticism he received from the public and other ministers alike.
"You faced waves of criticism, sometimes very cruel and vicious. You did it quietly, with confidence and responsibility in the way you expressed yourself to the public."
The outgoing health chief said for his part that until February of this year, he believed the work done during Israel's annual flu season is the toughest it could get.
"Then came coronavirus," he said. "The campaign [against the virus] isn't over and it's becoming even more complicated. The coming of a second wave is not set in stone, it depends on policies and leadership."
Bar-Siman-Tov added that despite learning a lot about the virus, "we still don't know anything."