(March 9, 2020 / Israel Hayom) Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday instructed officials in his office to present him with the potential economic implications of closing the West Bank crossings following the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian Authority.
Over the weekend, the P.A. declared a state of emergency in the West Bank after seven people tested positive for the disease.
The defense minister also said that the military is prepared to assume management of the outbreak should Israel declare a national crisis, though stressing things had not yet reached that point.
“Coronavirus has been spreading in Israel in recent days, and it requires we exercise the necessary responsible measures,” Bennett told Israeli media. “In the event of the virus reaching pandemic levels, and if Israel declares a national crisis situation, the defense establishment will assume management of the crisis,” he added.
While the defense establishment is “fully prepared to deal with a pandemic situation,” said Bennett, “we are not there yet.” He added that he believes “the situation in Israel won’t go that far. If every citizen in the country follows the Health Ministry’s instructions, we can certainly overcome the crisis.”
Bennett met on Sunday with Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Commander Maj. Gen. Tamir Yedai, who has been overseeing an exercise focusing on a possible national crisis situation over the disease.
Also on Sunday, Israel was considering shuttering its Taba border crossing with Egypt after reports that dozens of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Egypt.
The Israeli Health Ministry is expected to announce the addition of Egypt to the quarantine list. Israelis returning from countries on the list must self-quarantine for 14 days.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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