Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO
Netanyahu at the Ben-Gurion Airport Coronavirus testing station

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 has a 90 percent efficacy rate marked “an important day in the global struggle against coronavirus.”

Several other companies were making progress toward a vaccine, he said, including Israel, but still required more time.

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Nevertheless, he said, “One thing is clear. Not long from today—it will not be years but months—there will be vaccines that will be available for the population of the world. My goal at the moment is to do one thing—bring vaccines to you, citizens of Israel, and we will do so. This means that the end is in view. I said a few days ago that I see light at the end of the tunnel. I think that train is already exiting the tunnel.”

Also on Monday, Netanyahu visited Ben-Gurion International Airport to inaugurate the facility’s COVID-19 rapid-testing lab, together with Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.

The Israeli premier said the “innovative” system could help the country “get back to a better, quicker and more efficient aviation routine,” adding, “We want to renew Israel’s link to the world.”

Netanyahu praised the progress Israel has made in reducing its soaring coronavirus morbidity rate, but warned that it could not be allowed to rise so high again.

“We succeeded in lowering morbidity from one of the highest rates in the world, if not the highest, to one of the lowest rates in the West, if not the lowest, and we want to keep to it,” he said.

However, he added, after the country moved to stage two of the phased lifting of the national lockdown, “Morbidity is starting to go up.” If the indicators do not improve in the coming days, he said, the move to stage three will be delayed.

“Together we will take the steps that will ensure that morbidity does not increase, because if it does, it will go up like a jet or missile taking off for the heavens. This destroys the economy and it exacts a tremendous price in lives and the health of the people. Therefore, I request your cooperation,” he said.

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