Impose Covid Restrictions “No Matter What the People Say!”

PM commanded cabinet members to support strictest Coronavirus travel measures

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Coronaviruss
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appeared to fail a critical Covid-combatting leadership test at the weekend, after opposition to his wish to impose a near-total travel ban on Israelis forced him to backtrack.

According to news reports, as fears of an ‘Omicron Apocalypse’ began sending waves of panic across Europe Friday Bennett sought to have Israel expand its red country no-fly list to almost every place on the planet. He was insisting that the cabinet legislate this, no matter what Israelis wanted.

The prime minister used coercive manipulation, including warnings that those who opposed the measures would be to blame for any Covid-19 disaster that might result.

“Ministers that vote against the steps will be responsible for the outbreak. I expect all the ministers to … not give in to pressure from the public or lobbyists,” Channel 12 quoted Bennett as saying.

Following those reports, and as the premier huddled with his government leaders at the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, news emerged that he was no longer planning a sweeping travel ban, but would announce a more limited list of countries to which Israelis may no longer fly, including the United States, Canada, Germany and Turkey.

These restrictions will reportedly go into effect a little later this week.

As his meeting began, Bennett praised his handling of the Omicron threat.

“This government did a great thing when it made a decision three weeks ago to restrict entry into Israel,” he said. “We bought the State of Israel precious time; we delayed the Omicron…”

But now, he warned ominously, “the wave is coming.” Time was running out. “The Omicron is already in the country and there is already community transmission.”

As of Sunday morning, the total number of Israelis infected with the Omicron variant stood at just over 130.

Israel is anxiously watching how the new threat is being dealt with in Britain, where the mayor of London Saturday declared a “major incident” due to the rapidly multiplying spread of Omicron. UK data shows that there is a doubling of cases every two days, compared to the Delta variant’s every 10 days.

South Africa, where Omicron was first identified, is likewise experiencing massive multiplication, though the symptoms of this variant remain relatively minor.

Epidemiologists caution that it is not easy to transfer the effects of a virus in one country to what happens in another.

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