Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has given a nod to deploy counter-terrorism technology to detect the Coronavirus infection. Declaring a "war" on the 'invisible enemy', Netanyahu also enacted restrictions across Israel.
"We are at war with an enemy, the coronavirus. An invisible enemy," Netanyahu said, according to the Jerusalem Post. On Saturday, the Israeli prime minister assented to digitally monitor coronavirus cases without people's permission, thus courting controversy over privacy concerns.
"We are one of the few countries with this capability, and we will use it. We must do everything, as a government and as citizens, to not become infected and not to infect others," Netanyahu said justifying his move.
The Israeli Prime Minister announced that the nation's restaurants and places of entertainment will be closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He also encouraged people not to go to their workplaces unless absolutely necessary. "Whoever doesn’t need to go work or doesn’t need to be in a certain place, don’t go," Netanyahu said in a televised address Saturday.
But he stopped short of declaring a widespread shutdown seen in some other hard-hit countries. Netanyahu told the public that they should prepare for a new routine but that the government would ensure that essential services continue. After panicked scenes in supermarkets over the weekend, he also said the country has no shortages of food or essential items and encouraged public calm.
Shai Babad, the director of the Israeli Finance Ministry, said the closures would include restaurants, malls, movies, gyms and daycare centers. Schools and universities already have been closed, and entry to the country has been tightly restricted. Israel has detected some 193 cases of the virus. Netanyahu also renewed a call for an emergency unity government with his political opponents after Israel's third consecutive inconclusive election this month.
(with PTI inputs)