The Coronavirus in Israel is a pandemic which starts from February 21, 2020.
5 words you have to know to deal with the coronavirus crisis in Israel – Let’s go!
Stuck in quarantine? Join us for ONLINE Hebrew Lessons
What’s Coronavirus in Israel?
The seriousness of this Coronavirus pandemic in Israel prompts Israeli politicians to seek a unity government as the governmental crisis that began with the April 2019 legislative elections continues after the third legislative elections on March 2, 2020. Draconian measures initially effectively curb the spread of the pandemic, but the socio-economic crisis they cause and popular discontent with the Prime Minister in office, as well as a certain disdain for regulations, lead to their increasingly widespread abandonment.
The number of new daily cases has been increasing sharply again since late May, a few weeks after the end of the containment, and a climate of political struggles prevents it from being contained because any restrictive measures are immediately opposed by representatives of the people concerned about economic recovery and skeptical of the reality of the figures, attributed to the number of examinations carried out. Mortality then increases, as does the pressure on the health system, but from mid-October onwards. A new three-week confinement was voted and took effect on the eve of the Jewish New Year (September 18, 2020) in a generalized climate of distrust towards the authorities. On the eve of this new confinement, Head of State Reuven Rivlin apologized to the Israelis for the government’s inability to contain the coronavirus in Israel. The number of new cases per day began to drop again following the containment measures before rising again in November following the easing of containment. 4,000 new cases are diagnosed on December 24 and a third containment is ordered as of December 27. On December 31, 3,318 people died for a total population of just over 9 million.
The first doses of Pfizer vaccine arrive in Israel on December 9 and the vaccination campaign begins at a very fast pace on December 20, 2020, with one million people having already received the first dose by January 1, 2021. However, the lethality of the disease did not immediately decrease and the death toll on February 10, January 10, was 5,257. By mid-February, the effects of mass vaccination begin to show on the indicators. The numbers of new cases and then deaths per day dropped significantly. The total number of deaths as of February 19 is 5526.
Like the rest of the world, Israel is less interested in the emerging pandemic than in its local problems, and the newspapers mainly report on the power struggle between the outgoing Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and Benny Gantz, leader of the four-headed Blue and White party expressly set up to oust a politician who is regularly booed and charged with three counts. His warnings about the danger of the new coronavirus are seen as diversionary tactics while he is in a bad political position, and one of the most frequently quoted experts asserts that the “corona” is just a flu with a good public relations department.
Even before the first cases in Israel, the Israeli government began to close the borders on January 30, 2020, with a ban on flights from China. On February 17, 2020, passengers on flights from Asia (Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore) were turned back and on February 27, Israel banned Italian citizens from entering its territory, while forcing Israelis returning from Italy to isolate themselves for two weeks4.
The first case of Covid-19 in Israel was identified on February 21, 2020 on an Israeli woman who tested positive for the coronavirus at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, after returning from a cruise on the Diamond Princess where she had undergone quarantine5. As a result, a 14-day home confinement is instituted for any Israeli resident or citizen who has been in South Korea or Japan and a refusal of admission is issued for any non-resident or non-citizen who has been in South Korea within 14 days of arrival6.
After having imposed quarantines on March 4 on people arriving from certain countries already infected (France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria)7 and while the number of people hit by Covid-19 in Israel exceeds fifty8 , Israel imposed on March 10, 2020 a quarantine of 14 days on anyone arriving from abroad9. On March 13, when the number of cases reached 126, schools, hotels and theaters were closed10.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz reported to the Israeli press that around March 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had warned him that Europe was going to be hit very hard because it underestimated the impact of the epidemic. As a result, Sebastian Kurz decided to act faster than other European governments.