An Israeli official aware of the pandemic response said government researchers attributed the majority of new infections to a single category of activity: public gatherings, especially weddings. The official said a large surge in weddings – around 2,092 between June 15-25, had proven the events to be Covid-19 incubators.
“They have people from all over the county,” said the official, who spoke anonymously because of the political sensitivity of the matter. “They hug each other; they sing, they dance. This is the ultimate opportunity to infect people. “
Israel has started to make other governments aware of its findings about the risk of weddings, the official said. Closing the wedding halls was one of the new restrictions announced on Monday, as were the closing of concert halls and public swimming pools. The number of restaurants is limited to 20 indoors and 30 outdoors, while the church houses 1
Israel’s flattened fall curve began to rise again after the government loosened its blockade in late May, opened gyms and cafes, and allowed large gatherings. The country Monday has exceeded a total of 30,000 infections.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged citizens to wear masks and avoid crowds, hospitals are trying to deal with serious cases that double every day.
Health and political experts, who attribute the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus in the spring, cite a number of mistakes for its summer resurgence. This includes not appointing a coronavirus czar to coordinate the response, and not building a national network of test laboratories and technicians able to track the virus.
The government official found that Israel ran an average of more than 20,000 tests a day, but acknowledged insufficient contact tracking. “It was not robust enough in terms of labor,” said the official.
With the entry into force of new restrictions, the Israelis are losing the normality that they thought was their joy. The relapse has triggered a stream of criticism of the government.
According to a new poll by Israeli broadcaster 12, Netanyahu’s approval rate for combating the pandemic is 46 percent, a decrease of almost 20 points since May. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office declined to comment on this article.
“We are the only country in the world that is less prepared for the second wave than for the first,” opposition leader Yair Lapid said at a party conference on Monday.
Critics describe the new wave as an expression of a political failure to prepare for the inevitable return of the novel corona virus after the Israelis received the all-clear to go to the streets, beaches, and bars.
“The virus won’t stop being contagious. What do you expect when you open up? Asked Dan Ben-David, professor at Tel Aviv University and president of the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research. “It was all avoidable that makes it such a tragedy.”
In April, Shoresh was one of several think tanks investigating the steps required to keep the virus at bay when economic activity picks up. The basic strategy, as seen in Germany, Austria and other countries, is to run extensive tests and control hotspots as they appear.
Israel started with several advantages, including its small population, centralized government, and tightly controlled borders. The history of the country’s crisis management made it suitable to meet the moment. All of this contributed to its success in containing infections after it quickly shutdown and imposed a nationwide shutdown.
Israel was ranked the world’s best security rating for Covid-19 by the Deep Knowledge Group, which describes itself as a consortium of commercial and non-profit organizations, in March. But now that infections are increasing again, Israel, along with the United States, Russia and Brazil, has been added to the “red list” of the Covia 19 Pariah countries that are denied access to European Union countries.
Like many Israelis, Ben-David blames politics for what he calls the national “balagan,” a Hebrew word that is roughly translated as chaotic chaos.
Netanyahu became increasingly popular due to its early response to the crisis. This included nightly television reviews and personal demonstrations of wearing masks and washing hands. But the prime minister did not seem to want to appoint someone to oversee operations ranging from securing ventilators and test agents overseas to tracking cell phone movements of infected citizens.
He also resisted repeated calls to give the IDF a greater role in fighting the pandemic. The then Secretary of Defense had been Naftali Bennett, a Netanyahu challenger on the political right.
An IDF spokesman said the military has played a critical role since early March by transporting tests and materials, enforcing curfews and barriers, and developing new fans. The army has operated a number of 24 “corona hotels” where asymptomatic or slightly ill patients can eradicate their infections. The number of hotels had dropped from 24 to 12, but the IDF is now preparing to open two more.
“The IDF is ready, equipped, staffed, and ready to help with whatever the Israeli government demands from us,” said Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Sarah Talmor, a restaurateur in Jerusalem, remembered the sunny day a month ago when she put tables back on the terrace. She remembers the hope and relief of apparently escaping the worst of the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, hope and relief had been replaced by “disappointment and sadness” when she ordered some of these tables to be removed and was preparing to let customers know that new restrictions meant that only some of them could allow themselves to put.
“I wanted to believe that life would be normal,” said Talmor, manager of the Grand Cafe, one of several restaurants in Jerusalem that she owns with her husband. “Now we’re going back.”