Coronavirus Czar Nachman Ash says a March lockdown looks likely

Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash says that another lockdown is likely to be needed just when Israelis are supposed to head to the polls.

Shlomo Witty ,

Police enforce lockdown near Jerusalem
Police enforce lockdown near Jerusalem
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

During the cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), coronavirus crisis manager Prof. Nachman Ash presented the ministers with a bleak forecast that the situation will probably require a fourth lockdown unless extreme caution is practiced now.

According to the data presented by Ash, it is estimated that in the coming weeks the British mutation will be the dominant strain in Israel, which could lead to a rapid spread of the virus and another wave of illness. Ministry of Health officials told Kan 11 that this can be avoided only by exercising extreme auction when deciding if and how to end the current lockdown.

According to the report, the Ministry of Health predicts that the coming week will be a turning point in which they hope that the effects of vaccination will make themselves known.

If there is indeed a fourth lockdown in March, this could have an impact on the upcoming election, and the Election Commission will have to discuss with the Ministry of Health if the ballot boxes can be opened safely.

A source in the Election Commission said, “If the government does not exclude all our employees from quarantine - we will not be able to hold elections. The government will have to allow people to leave the house to vote and operate public transit.”

At the end of the cabinet meeting, the cabinet approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to extend the lockdown by 10 days (until 31.1 at midnight). The government also approved air travel regulations that require every passenger entering Israel to test negative for COVID-19 72 hours before taking off for Israel. The proposal passed almost unanimously, except for Minister Akunis who opposed and did not participate in the vote.



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