Israel’s Director of Public Health for the Ministry of Health resigned Tuesday, citing frustration’s with Israel’s response to the coronavirus and noting that “Israel is heading to a dangerous place,” in a lengthy Facebook post.
Siegal Sadetzki, the lead epidemiologist heading Israel's coronavirus response, posted her nine-page resignation letter on her social media page, saying that her opinion on how to handle the pandemic was ignored and that the country reopened irresponsibly.
“To my regret, for a number of weeks now, the handling of the outbreak has lost direction,” Sadetzki wrote, according to the Times of Israel. “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.”
Sadetzki’s announcement comes the day after the Israeli parliament re-imposed restrictions and closed bars, clubs, gyms and pools as the coronavirus reached a daily infection rate of over 1,000 new cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
Israel, which was initially quick to prevent the spread of the virus, is now seeing rates double that of their previous peak in the spring. During the virus’ peak, Israelis were barred from going more than 100 meters outside of their homes unless it was to go to the grocery store or pharmacy.
Israel reduced its daily infection rate to around 20 new cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
But Sadetzki said that the government was too quick to reopen schools in May, followed by wedding venues in June.
“Too much time is invested in debates, discussions, consultants, forums and those acting for themselves, while the level of operation and details required for the success of the various operations do not receive the proper attention,” Sadetzki wrote.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel’s achievements in May and told people to go out and "enjoy yourselves."
But on Monday Netanyahu urged people to act responsibly, saying, “The pandemic is spreading; it is as clear as the sun.”
“We must take immediate steps that will prevent us from having to take even more extreme measures later,” Netanyahu said, according to The Guardian.
Additional restrictions have been re-enforced which include placing capacity limits on restaurants, synagogues and public transportation along with implementing fines for not wearing face masks.