JERUSALEM (JTA) — It was just two months ago that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory over the new coronavirus.
Ten weeks after recording its first cases, Israel had imposed a series of draconian restrictions, causing the number of new cases to plunge. Fewer than 250 people had died. A contact tracing system was up and running.
So Netanyahu felt confident about suggesting that the danger had passed. Israel, he said in a press conference from his office on May 4, is “a model for many countries, and the world is learning from us.”
That hasn’t changed. But now, with a second wave of infections surging across the country, the world may be taking different lessons from Israel: what happens when a society relaxes its guard too early.
After recording more than 1,000 cases in 24 hours, Israel reimposed steep restrictions on its population on Monday, just a little over a month after fully lifting a nationwide lockdown that saw much of the population stuck at home.