The H1N1 virus is expected to cause NIS 3 billion (approx. $775 million) in damages to the Israeli market next winter, Dun and Bradstreet analysts said Sunday.
The Israeli market suffers a NIS 1.2 billion ($310 million) loss every winter due to sick days – which amount to about two million per season – and patient care. Projections for the coming winter say the number of employee sick days may multiply by up to 2.5 times.
D&B also estimated that the overall direct and indirect damage to the market may amount to a staggering NIS 35 billion ($8.96 billion).
According to projections, should a swine flu epidemic break out in Israel,
market product would drop between 4% and 5%, since some workplaces may even have to temporarily shut down.
In case of an epidemic, people are likely to avoid public places such as restaurants, theaters and malls, causing losses for the food and entertainment industries. The tourism industry is also likely to suffer an estimated 20% drop in revenue.
Meanwhile, Israel Railways has begun taking the necessary precaution, in accordance to Health Ministry recommendations: Train carts vents are to be opened in order to reduce the air conditioning system's recycling of air and the passengers will be asked to adhere to several hygiene guidelines, such as washing ones hands, prior to boarding the train.
Ofer Petersburg contributed to this report