Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a stricter policy to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday of people staying at home, saying that police would enforce restrictions.
“Under these orders, you, Israel’s citizens, are required to stay at home. It is no longer a request, it is not a recommendation; it is an obligatory directive that will be enforced by enforcement authorities,” Netanyahu said in a speech aired on TV, according to a Reuters report.
The stricter measures still allow for people to leave their homes to shop for food and medicine, as well as for some essential workers.
Israel’s Health Ministry reported 677 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, marking a big jump in cases, and which came after an increase in the amount of testing for the virus, the report said.
Israel has banned foreigners from entering the country unless they have residency permits in order to try to stop the spread of the illness.
Separately, Israel approved licensing of a generic version of an HIV drug to treat people infected with the coronavirus, reported Ynet.
The anti-viral drug Kaletra could be effective against the virus, according to Israel’s Ministry of Health.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu warned that a total lockdown would be implemented if people did not voluntarily obey the guidelines.
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Israel has risen to 677.
An 89 year-old woman is in critical condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem and her condition continues to deteriorate.
6 people are listed in serious condition and 13 in moderate condition.
17 people have recovered from the virus.
More than 200 000 people are in quarantine.
Israel is currently in negotiations with Japan to buy a medication that is said to shorten the time span that people are ill with the virus. There are reports that this medication has shortened the days of illness from approximately 11-14 days to approximately 4 days.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has overseen an effort whereby within a 24 hour period of time the Ministry of Defense has purchased 2500 respirators for the Ministry of Health at a cost which exceeds 50 million shekels. 1000 will be assembled in Israel and 1500 will be imported from overseas.