Israel's coronavirus czar said Sunday he will recommend that the government does not ease the nationwide lockdown further until more members of the public get tested for coronavirus.
Coronavirus cabinet is set to meet later on Sunday to discuss reopening of schools for first and second grades as well as other steps meant to ease the lockdown, including reopening of hair salons and street shops.
"I have 70,000 daily tests at my disposal - take advantage of them, what do I get stuck with 20,000?" Prof. Ronni Gamzu said in an interview with Ynet. "I am considering halting any further steps [to ease the lockdown] if people do not go enough to get tested," he said.
"I want every municipality to know that if they have, for instance, 20 verified carriers at the moment, they should multiply that number by 100 and conduct 2,000 tests."
The professor said the lack of testing is noticeable not only in the Haredi sector, disproportionally affected by the pandemic, but within the general population as well.
"People are not going to get tested and they do not understand that eliminating coronavirus means finding a sick person who is seemingly healthy," he said. "Even if we have only a few hundred verified carriers today, believe me there are several thousand in the country. Just let me find them."
Gamzu said he backs the reopening of schools for first and second grades as soon as next week, as long as classes are held in small groups or "capsules", and all students and teaching staff are required wear face masks. The czar added he will also recommend the government reopens some small businesses starting November 1.
"We are talking about the resumption of 'one-on-one' treatments, including barbers, beauticians and alternative medicine, in a week's time. We are very sensitive about the situation of small businesses in the country, and it is impossible to really ignore the great difficulty they are facing," he said.
"We want to be careful because I do not want to bring Israel back to where it was at the end of the first wave."