פרופסור אלי וקסמן
Prof. Eli Waksman
Prof. Eli Waksman

Top government adviser laments wasted time in Israel handling of pandemic

Prof. Eli Waksman warns if government fails to implement new policies in coming days, country's entire intensive care apparatus will be in immediate danger of collapse as number of hospitalized patients spikes

Attila Somfalvi |
Published: 07.09.20 , 21:48
Prof. Eli Waksman, who heads an expert team advising the National Security Council (NSC) and the government regarding the coronavirus outbreak, lamented on Thursday what he saw as time-wasting conduct in the authorities' response to the epidemic.
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  • "We could have acted back in March. We've wasted our time by not building a relevant body to handle this at the Health Ministry," Waksman told Ynet.
    פרופסור אלי וקסמן פרופסור אלי וקסמן
    Prof. Eli Waksman
    "The responsibility for this falls on the shoulders of several bodies, including the Public Health Services, which was in charge of managing the pandemic and impeded the creation of the necessary departments," he said.
    "Unless an effective control center is set up, we will find ourselves in the midst of a very big crisis." Waksman said.
    "Israel must act. I am sure that if such a body is established and given every authorization to operate - we will reduce the number of new patients again, as we have seen before."
    Waksman also claimed that Israel has lost control over the pandemic due to ill-prepared containment apparatus and may soon have to resort back to preventive action on a national scale.
    "Our ability to contain local outbreaks is non-existent, which means we'll have to reimpose nationwide social distancing measures to suppress the spread of the epidemic," Waksman said.
    מסעדה תל אביבמסעדה תל אביב
    Patrons dining at a Tel Aviv restaurant during coronavirus outbreak
    (Photo: AFP)
    According to Waksman, although the virus spread much faster during Israel's first wave of infections, if the government failed to implement new policies in the coming days, the country's entire intensive care apparatus will be in immediate danger of collapse.
    "When we reach 600-900 patients in need of intensive care, the system will struggle to treat them all. The steps taken by the government on Monday, imposing social distancing restrictions mainly directed at social and leisure activities are important steps and may well suppress the current outbreak," he said.
    מחלקת קורונה בשיבאמחלקת קורונה בשיבא
    Coronavirus ward at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer
    (Photo: AFP)
    "The epidemic has spread across the entire country," the professor said. "It is no longer concentrated in specific areas and so focusing on certain areas won’t solve the problem. We must implement nationwide measures.
    "In our current situation, testing and isolation alone won’t stop the spread, the national measures to reduce the infection rate by reducing the amount of contact should be the focus of attention."
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