The Israel Defense Forces is preparing to open hotels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to treat mild cases of coronavirus, the head of the Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai said Monday.
"We have prepared two hotels that will be secured in coordination with the police and be managed by the Ministry of Health," Yadai said.
"The Defense Ministry will be financing the two hotels as negotiations are underway to secure two more - one in Haifa in the north and one in the south of the country with 500 double rooms in each, providing a solution for 2,000 patients," he added.
Yadai said that Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has instructed the military to speed up the production of tests for the coronavirus that will be deployed in public testing areas based on the South Korean model.
The Health Ministry is considering imposing more strict restrictions on movement as part of the measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the ministry's deputy director-general Itamar Grotto said on Monday.
“We may ask people to leave the house less, and only for necessary errands," Grotto said. "The government is considering a general closure on all citizens, and if that happens it would mean all age groups will be asked to stay home until further notice."
Grotto also said the ministry was “planning greater oversight for the 70+ population," which is at risk.
"We’re preparing now for hospitals to be able to hold the corona patients who will need treatment, and most of the less urgent patients will be hospitalized at home unless impossible due to socioeconomic or familial reasons.”
Grotto's announcement came after the ministry's upper echelons ran further discussions over the implementation of increasingly drastic measures to limit contact with the virus and slow its spread.
“For the time being, a general shutdown of the economy isn’t planned,” a senior official told reporters on Monday, but, added that, “the government is preparing to cut back on public transportation.”
The government approved on Sunday a series of emergency regulations to deal with the outbreak of the coronavirus, among them a NIS 5000 (roughly $1,360) fine for individuals who are found violating quarantine.
According to the regulations, police and local authorities can impose administrative fines on individuals who violate quarantine or the Health Ministry's guideline that forbid mass gatherings.
A NIS 5,000 fine will be imposed for violating isolation obligation and leaving quarantine prematurely.
A NIS 3,000 fine will be imposed for failing to report to the Health Ministry about entering quarantine or failing to report arrival from abroad.
A NIS 5,000 fine will be imposed for violating a police officer's order to disperse a mass gathering.
Additional steps were approved to prevent the spread of the pathogen in prisons. Among them, the reassignment of incarceration facilities as quarantine compounds for prisoners.