These are Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks on Sunday, at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
Last week there was an increase in the rate of coronavirus infection. As part of the lessons of the past, we are not waiting to protect the health of Israeli citizens. It must be understood, the Delta variant is running amok around the world at a much higher rate than all of the previous variants, and we intend to protect the citizens of the State of Israel. Therefore, our goal is maximum protection of the citizens of Israel with minimum disruption of the normal lives of the citizens of Israel.
For this to continue, we need your cooperation, citizens of Israel. Last week we called on young people aged 12-16 to go get vaccinated and I am pleased to announce that 100,000 young people of these ages have already been inoculated with the first injection.
The daily pace for young people jumped six-fold in a week. Here we must thank the Health Minister on this matter. However, it is not enough. The sand in the hourglass is running out. Whoever has not yet been vaccinated is requested to make an appointment today. The vaccines work. The second dose is critical against the new variant, the Delta variant – and it works. There are five days left to receive the first injection for us to utilize the existing stocks that are about to expire.
Regarding Ben-Gurion International Airport, we have reduced the connections, something that did not happen during the year-and-a-half in which any Israeli could fly directly to a red country without any warning. This is no longer happening.
Flying to a red country is possible only with a permit and I update that people who tried to evade have also been removed from planes. We are not to pull one over on the virus because it cannot be fooled.
During the week, we also appointed Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ronni Numa to be in charge of the crossings, especially Ben-Gurion International Airport. There has been a significant improvement in test times at the airport and in managing the process. The testing facility is being built at this very moment by the Defense Ministry in cooperation with the Transportation Ministry and the Health Ministry. We are dealing with the mishaps of the past.
A good word must be said here to Transportation Minister Michaeli, to Interior Minister Shaked, to Health Minister Horowitz, and to Defense Minister Gantz for working together very nicely. I have heard from more than a few citizens who have returned from abroad that there has been a tangible improvement. We are ahead of the summer months in which there are many more flights and we will continue to monitor this, including me personally.
From here, I call on the citizens of Israel: Wear masks in closed places. It works. The best vaccine against the coronavirus is masks. Masks work. Avoid crowding in closed places. If the citizens of Israel do not cooperate and if morbidity continues to increase, we will consider a partial return to the green standard restrictions; to this end, we will convene the Corona Cabinet if necessary.
There 185 new verified patients as of Saturday, based on 38,938 test results. As of Sunday morning, there are 35 patients whose condition is severe, 16 of whom are on respirators. A total of 6,429 died since the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,627,866 have received the first dose of the vaccine, 5,174,647 the second.