Too early to ease anti-coronavirus lockdown: Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that although the country has witnessed a drop in Covid-19 infections, it was still “too early” to ease the ongoing three-week anti-coronavirus lockdown.

His remarks came after the coronavirus cabinet convened a meeting on Monday to discuss the pandemic situation in the country, The Times of Israel reported.

In a video posted on Twitter, the Prime Minister said that “it’s too early to say if it will hold”, as experts have recommended about a week’s wait to see if the trend continued.

He added that while Israel was the first to impose a second complete lockdown, many European countries were preparing to follow suit.

In the meeting, the Cabinet did not make any changes to the ongoing curbs and is slated to meet on October 12 to review the state of the pandemic.

Also on Monday, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: “If the morbidity rate continues to decrease, we will work to reduce the restrictions, open businesses that do not receive customers, and open early childhood education.”

On Monday, Israel reported less than 3,000 single-day cases registered the previous day, according to the Health Ministry.

However, the Israel Defense Forces’ Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center said that the positive test rate was still relatively high, at around 11-12 per cent, The Times of Israel reported.

“A much wider scope of morbidity than actually detected,” it said, adding that more time was needed to see if there was an actual downward trend.

Israel has so far reported more than 272,000 coronavirus cases, with 1,757 deaths.