Israel says lo to further lockdowns

An interesting speech from the new Israeli PM:

We will do everything to avoid lockdowns, which – to livelihoods, the economy and the education of our children – are destructive tools. Lockdowns are only a last resort.

It would be very easy to declare a lockdown and give money to the closed businesses and the workers sitting at home.

But the policy of lockdowns has a terrible price.

One consideration that we have is the lowering of morbidity and the reduction of mortality. But, of course, there are other considerations including Israeli citizens’ livelihoods, the education of Israeli children and safeguarding the economic future of Israel.

For example, we thought about the people killed in traffic accidents. It would be possible to reduce to zero the number of fatalities from traffic accidents by banning travel on Israel’s highways. But we all understand that we have to live and allow traffic in Israel.

Thus it is with the Delta strain: Daily routine is part of life and we must find a responsible balance between all the needs.

It is important for me to emphasize something:

The price tag for the three previous lockdowns, was NIS 200 billion.

That is 200,000,000,000.

This is NIS 200,000 x one million.

This is our money, yours, and our children’s and great-grand children’s.

If we continue with the policy of lockdowns and economically destructive restrictions, we will simply collapse economically.

The immense amount that we spent on lockdowns, the effectiveness of which was low in any case, is a sum that was taken from important goals for you and for your children.

Lockdowns were a necessary “evil” in 2020 and the current lockdown was necessary as we had so few vaccinated. But it is a useful reminder they do impose a huge cost on us, and on our children.

How many children and older people would we not be able to send to life-saving operations?

How many MRI machines would we not be able to finance and thus we would miss thousands of cancer patients at early stages?

How many lessons in science, mathematics or English would we be unable to finance?

How many old-age pensions for elderly without means would we be unable to provide?

Think for a moment: Every family in Israel is NIS 105,000 in debt due to the price tag of the three lockdowns.

I think it is similar in NZ. Our increase in debt per household is huge.

We are taking responsibility and are now implementing important steps that have not been carried out up until now:

1. We are inoculating millions of older people with a third dose.

At this moment, the State of Israel is the only country that is giving its citizens the possibility of receiving a third dose.

We secured approval of the medical experts.

We saw to the stocks of the vaccines.

We saw to it that the HMOs would be able to act and they are doing extraordinary work.

2. We are strengthening the hospitals with more positions for doctors and nurses, and the HMOs and the entire health system after many years in which these critical parts of the system were neglected.

3. We are closely safeguarding the vulnerable elderly in retirement homes and geriatric hospitals.

4. We opened the private market to rapid tests and the sale of home tests. I hope that we will see hundreds of thousands of tests a day during the pandemic, which will allow us to quarantine cases and break the chains of infection.

So their strategy is vaccinations. investing more in hospitals, safeguarding the elderly and more rapid testing.

I don’t advocate that strategy, yet, for NZ. But come 2022 we should have enough people vaccinated that we can abandon lockdowns.

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