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Israel public health chief quits in protest against govt’s handling of Covid-19 crisis

In her nine-page resignation letter, which she also shared on Facebook, Sadetzki warned that the country was headed towards a dangerous place

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 8, 2020 7:33:24 pm
Passengers, one wearing a protective mask, are seen through the windows of the light rail in Jerusalem amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), July 7, 2020. Reuters/Ammar Awad

Amid a spike in fresh Covid-19 cases in Israel, the country’s public health director Siegal Sadetzki Tuesday announced that she was stepping down from her post due to what she said was the government’s mishandling of the pandemic. Sadetzki accused Israel’s leaders of ignoring her professional opinion by hastily reopening the economy and easing lockdown restrictions.

In her nine-page resignation letter, which she also shared on Facebook, Sadetzki warned that the country was headed towards a dangerous place. “To my regret, for a number of weeks now, the handling of the outbreak has lost direction,” her Facebook post read.

Merely hours before her announcement, Israel had reimposed several restrictions and shut down bars, clubs, gyms and swimming pools as the number of daily cases in the country had sharply risen. On Monday, more than 1,000 people tested positive for the deadly virus — indicating local transmission, the Guardian reported.

Also read: ‘India may become worst-hit, record 2.87 lakh Covid cases daily by 2021’

Sadetzki, a leading epidemiologist who led Israel’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, claimed that the government had “lost its bearings”. “Despite systematic and regular warnings in the various systems, and discussions in various forums, we watch with frustration as the hourglass of opportunities runs low,” she wrote.

After a national lockdown was imposed in April, Israel was able to substantially bring down the number of new infections per day to about 20. However, soon after lockdown restrictions were relaxed and schools and businesses began opening two months ago, the number of cases began rising once again.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Sadetzki for her service and wished her luck for the future, AFP reported. He also stated that the growing number of COVID-19 patients posed a threat to the country’s health system.

According to data released by Johns Hopkins University, Israel has recorded 32,714 COVID-19 cases and 343 deaths so far.

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