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June 18, 2020 9:46 am

Israeli Finance Minister: ‘No Room’ for Another Full COVID-19 Lockdown

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A shopper wears a face mask as he gets his body temperature checked at the entrance to Jerusalem’s main market, April 26, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun. – Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday that there will not be another wide-scale coronavirus lockdown in the country, and that any new measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 will be more narrowly targeted.

“We won’t close anything down across the board. We can deal with it [the spread of the virus] in a focused manner with enforcement and quarantine. We won’t close any industry across the board. There is no room for a general closure,” said Katz.

The Israeli government demonstrated this new policy earlier on Wednesday by instituting a week-long lockdown for the Arab towns of Deir al-Asad and Bi’ina in the country’s north, where disproportionate numbers of new coronavirus infections have been reported in recent days.

The government is reportedly reluctant to reimpose new comprehensive restrictions because of the dire predicted economic effects, even though the number of  new infections per day has risen into the hundreds recently, equaling the numbers in April.

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Also on Wednesday, Knesset member Yifat Shasha-Biton, who chairs the Special Knesset Committee on the Novel Coronavirus, said that a “second wave” of COVID-19 is on the way.

“According to projections made around the world, a second wave is coming this November, and it will come with side effects of more diseases in the winter. Ahead of the second wave, we must learn from what happened in the previous wave and move forward from there in a way that will not disrupt the routine of the State of Israel with a comprehensive lockdown and sweeping measures.”

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