The public in Israel must wear face masks out of doors beginning today, Sunday, April 12, under new Health Ministry directives approved by the government last Tuesday. Drastic shortages in laboratory materials necessary for testing for COVID-19 led the far-right government to require citizens to wear face masks when leaving home, even though the World Health Organization has questioned the efficacy of such a policy.
In light of the dramatic increase in prices being taken for face masks due to speculation and profiteering, Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) demanded on Saturday, April 11, that the government provide the the public with face masks free of charge.
According to dozens of physicians and senior health officials who are speaking more and more openly to the Israeli press on their concerns, “the health system is in hysteria” and together with hospital officials they have warned in the last few days of major coronavirus fallout as the pandemic is set to peak.
On Friday, April 11, the Health Ministry instructed hospitals in Israel to cut back on scheduled operations as much as possible, for fear of an impending shortages or delays in the supplying of anesthetics.