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June 21, 2020 8:03 pm

Director-General of Israel’s Health Ministry Says Second Shutdown Unlikely, but It’s ‘in Our Hands’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Employees of Israel’s Sonovia Ltd, makers of washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), work at their laboratory in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen.

The Director-General of Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that a second shutdown of the Israeli economy due to the coronavirus is unlikely, despite a rise in infections and morbidity.

Director-General Hezi Levi told journalists that while the rate of increase in the number of patients has risen in recent days, the government is “not talking” about another closure.

He called, however, on citizens to continue to take the prescribed precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

“The thing is in our hands,” he said, and added, “It’s not over and we can flatten the curve.”

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Levi also warned that the coronavirus crisis will not be over soon, saying, “We can exist in the shadow of corona, because we’re likely to be in its shadow for a long time.”

He also recommended that Israelis get vaccinated for influenza, as the symptoms of flu and coronavirus are similar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a more urgent appeal on Sunday, telling Israelis, “We must flatten the curve now.”

Regarding a possible second closure, he said, “None of us want it. Therefore, I ask the citizens of Israel to wear masks and keep their distance.”

“We are making every effort to reach a vaccine,” Netanyahu added, “but until then we have no choice, no alternative, but to maintain a responsible, informed policy so that we can continue to open our economy.”

There are currently 4,743 coronavirus patients in Israel, 40 of them in serious condition, while 15,000 have recovered from the disease.

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