Virus czar warns parts of economy could be closed again if infections rise

Coronavirus czar Nachman Ash warns Israel could shut down schools and parts of the economy that were reopened this week if COVID-19 infections rise further.

“The infection rates are dropping, but in the past two days the transmission rate has changed direction and has started to rise slightly. Is this the result of the reopening of education and the economy? It could be, but we don’t know for sure,” he tells ultra-Orthodox reporters in a special briefing.

“If we see the rates rise, and the basic reproduction number nears 1, we will be forced to close things that have been reopened,” he adds.

Ash implores members of the ultra-Orthodox community to heed the gathering rules during this weekend’s Purim holiday.

“We recall what happened during the previous holiday and you are familiar with the fragile situation today. We must stop the rise in infections which could happen as a result of behavior over Purim,” he says.

“What will we say in two weeks if we are forced to close the education system because of a rise in infections? It isn’t reasonable that we should shut down schools because of Purim,” says Ash.

Coronavirus czar Nachman Ash at a vaccination center in Herzliya, December 20, 2020 (Flash90)
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