Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Tuesday that Israelis quarantined due to COVID-19 will continue to receive salaries, starting from the first day of isolation.

“We are confronting a wave of infection the likes of which the world has not seen in 100 years,” said Bennett at a press conference at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

One of the government’s main guiding principles in responding to the expected increase in cases due to the Omicron variant of the SARs-CoV-2 virus, said Bennett, was to mitigate the damage to the economy as much as possible.

“I do not want people to lose their jobs. I do not want businesses to close. It is easy to fire; it is more difficult to find work afterward. It is easy to close a business; it is difficult to rebuild it. I know this; I have managed businesses,” he said.

“We still remember the abandoned businesses of previous waves; some of them have yet to recover … Therefore, [we will keep the economy] as open as possible,” he added.

At the same time, he said, “we will not leave citizens to deal with this alone. The state will help carry the burden. Not everyone can work from home. Quarantines also have an economic price. Therefore, all workers in the economy will receive salaries even during quarantine, starting from the first day of quarantine. There will also be a response for the self-employed. We decided on this earlier with the finance minister and he has already announced it.”

The Israeli premier also called on those who do not need to undergo a PCR test to make do with antigen tests, so as to preserve the limited number of the former for seniors.

Israel, he said, is among the best-protected countries in the world with regard to the pandemic, with “vaccines that others do not have, drugs that others do not have and economic assistance to those in quarantine.”

Bennett concluded his remarks by stating, “These will naturally be difficult weeks, but we will get through it.”

“There is no need to panic. There is no reason to get hysterical. We will get through this together,” he said.

JNS

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