Israel’s coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said on Wednesday that Israel is at war with COVID as Israel grapples with a mounting fatality rate.
Israel has confirmed over 120 coronavirus deaths in the past week alone, twice the number of deaths in the entire month of July and over 15 times the number of deaths in the month of June.
Speaking at a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee regarding restrictions intended to quell the virus outbreak, Zarka said: “I think that we’re in a real war. We’re in a critical situation until erev Rosh Hashana or chalilah, the coronavirus will prevail and we’ll reach scenarios we don’t want, like during the first or second lockdown.”
“I’m not trying to scare anyone, this is the data,” Zarka said. “Eight people died in June, 52 in July, and now in the middle of August, 203 have already died. We can’t question the situation. This ‘maybe’ means Israeli lives.”
Zarka emphasized that the current restrictions are not enough to reduce the infection rate and he thinks gatherings should be limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors but the members of the coronavirus cabinet rejected his recommendation.
“My foremost thoughts in my position is preserving life and I think we need to take additional measures. Right now, this is the cabinet’s decision. We’re adhering to it and therefore my opinion is what we’re presenting here is not enough.”
Other health experts at the hearing confirmed Zarka’s evaluation of the matter. Prof. Eli Waxman of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who advises the National Security Council, told the committee: “All the parameters are doubling and the third vaccine alone will not stop the issue. I would recommend taking stronger measures – the Green Pass is not enough. Lenience in regulations now will lead to a much worse situation later on.”
“In two weeks we’ll have to enact much stricter regulations because the pandemic isn’t going to stop,” he warned.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)