Health Ministry General Manager Moshe Bar Siman Tov and Prof. Siegal Sadetzki holds a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Tel Aviv, February 24, 2020. 

Professor Siegal Sadetzki, head of Public Health Services in the Israeli Health Ministry, resigned on Tuesday, voicing harsh criticism of the ministry’s handling of the second wave of COVID-19.

Sadetzki stated in her resignation letter that the country had “lost its way” with regard to its handling of the crisis and that her professional opinion was being ignored.

“The success in the first wave [of COVID-19] is being wiped out by the rapid and extensive lifting of restrictions. The transition to the second stage in Israel was much faster than in other western countries. The atmosphere regarding treating the virus and how decisions are made changed fundamentally, and we see the results,” wrote Sadetzki.

Israel has experienced a surge in new coronavirus cases in recent days, with 1,076 being reported in just the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

On Tuesday morning, Israel passed a law granting ministers authority to enact immediate measures to stem the spread of the disease, temporarily bypassing the Knesset. Under the legislation, the measures will be automatically rescinded after 7 days if lawmakers do not approve them within that time.

Following a special meeting of the country’s “corona Cabinet” on Monday, the government approved a series of new restrictions with the aim of containing the outbreak, including the closure until further notice of all event halls, bars, clubs, gyms and public pools, and limiting synagogues and other houses of worship to a maximum of 19 congregants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Monday’s Cabinet meeting that “immediate steps” had to be taken to prevent the need for “more extreme” measures later. JN

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