image Photo: Reuters

Rivlin: 2nd lockdown against virus must succeed

Israeli authorities are preparing to enforce a general nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the coronavirus. The measures are set to go into effect at 2 PM tomorrow, just hours before the start of the Jewish High Holy Day of the Rosh Hashanah New Year.

Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that “over 7,500 police officers and 1,400 IDF personnel will be shutting down cities in different areas in order to prevent movements of the public, and we are calling on the public to do everything possible in order to keep the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Health and the Israeli national police.”

Since the start of the week on Sunday, Health Ministry data shows a daily 9.47% infection rate of those tested and new 4,120 diagnoses on average. Tuesday saw a record high of 5,516 confirmed cases, prompting the government decision to close all schools nationwide except for special education and facilities for at-risk youth.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin used the opening remarks of a pre-holiday televised address to seek forgiveness from an increasingly frustrated pubic over the government’s perceived failure in handling the health crisis. “First and foremost,” said the Israeli leader, he wanted to apologize for “the feelings of confusion, uncertainty and anxiety that many people are feeling,” while acknowledging “we have not done enough as a leadership to be worthy of your attention. You trusted us and we let you down.”

Israel is one of the few countries to order a second nationwide lockdown over COVID-19, and President Rivlin warned that “we must prevail, or else, I fear, we will not get a third chance.”

In a warning to “the government of Israel – its leaders, ministers and advisors” that “the trust of the people is beyond value,” Rivlin said, “We must do everything to restore personal, medical and economic confidence to all of Israel’s citizens.”

After expressing he shared feelings that the approaching restrictions would “harm” citizens’ abilities to “live, celebrate, mourn, pray or fulfill our most basic human needs together,” President Rivlin went on to urge unity and hope saying, “at time I would like us to raise our heads and believe.”