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Israel's coronavirus infection rate among world's highest: Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu has come under fire for his handling of the coronavirus crisis [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 August, 2020

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Israel has recorded 75,083 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 554 deaths.

Israel's coronavirus infection rate is among the world's highest, after showing one of the highest morbidity rates per capita, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting on Monday.

The embattled Israeli leader warned that despite a recent levelling off of new coronavirus cases, there could be a spike in Covid-19 deaths.

Israel has the eighth highest infection rate per capita in the world, according to an Oxford University-based publication.

"This is the bad news. The good news is that over the last two weeks or so we've been on a plateau," Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying.

As of Tuesday, Israel has recorded 75,083 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 554 deaths.

Netanyahu has faced a wave of protests in recent weeks, with demonstrators calling for the resignation of the long-serving leader, who is on trial for corruption charges, along with his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

He has painted the protests as dens of "anarchists" and "leftists" out to topple "a strong right-wing leader".

In a six-minute rant at a meeting of his cabinet, Netanyahu slammed the media for "inflaming" the protests and for misrepresenting incidents of violence against the protesters.

"There has never been such a distorted mobilisation - I wanted to say Soviet but it has already reached North Korean terms - of the media in favour of the protests," he said.

Netanyahu said the media ignored "wild and unfettered incitement, including daily calls - including the day before yesterday - to murder the prime minister and his family".

He said the protests were breeding grounds for coronavirus that were being allowed to take place with no limits, shutting down streets and neighbourhoods, claiming that right-wing protests have not been given such free rein.

Read also: Gantz says far-right attacks on anti-Netanyahu protesters risk civil war in Israel

He condemned violence "from all sides" at the start of his remarks before tearing into the media he has long viewed as hostile toward him

Agencies contributed to this report.

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