Netanyahu urges Israelis to ignore coronavirus fears and 'go vote'

Netanyahu urges Israelis to ignore coronavirus fears and 'go vote'
Benjamin Netanyahu has urged Israelis to ignore fears of contracting coronavirus and to head to the polls.
2 min read
02 March, 2020
Netanyahu urged Israelis to vote [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged voters on Monday to head to the polls despite widespread concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, as the longest-serving leader in the country's history cast his ballot.

"Go vote," Netanyahu told reporters. "The coronavirus thing is completely under control. People can vote with complete confidence," he added, urging people to avoid "fake news" that might dissuade them from going to polling stations.

Israel has ten confirmed cases of the virus, with more than 5,000 others placed in home quarantine after travelling to areas considered outbreak hotspots.

The election in Israel is the first since the World Health Organisation raised its level over the outbreak to the highest level.
Those quarantined are banned from normal polling stations, were directed to 16 dedicated voting centres for Monday's general election in Israel.

Read also: Israel's president 'ashamed of grubby campaigns' as hotly-contested election begin

Dozens of them protested the decision, shouting "don't treat them like lepers" at police.

On Monday, Israel took to the polls for the third time in the space of a year, with voters seeking to end a grinding political deadlock following two inconclusive elections in April and September.

Polls have pointed to another tight race between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party and the centrist alliance led by ex-military chief Benny Gantz.

Both sides are expected to fall short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in parliament and will have to strike deals with smaller parties to forge a stable coalition.

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