Israel closes coronavirus drive-in testing centers over lack of demand

Health Ministry says the closure of testing centers operated by HMOs in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva and Haifa is a result of a dramatic decrease in the number of Israelis asking to be tested; MDA's testing centers to continue operations for now

Adir Yanko|
Israel on Wednesday ordered its health service providers to shut down drive-in complexes used to perform coronavirus tests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv over a lack of public demand.
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  • The testing centers operated by HMOs in Be'er Sheva and Haifa had apparently been closed a week ago.
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    תורי ענק של תלמידים מחוץ לדרייב אין בדיקות הקורונה בירושלים בעקבות התפרצות הנגיף בגימנסיה
    תורי ענק של תלמידים מחוץ לדרייב אין בדיקות הקורונה בירושלים בעקבות התפרצות הנגיף בגימנסיה
    Coronavirus test center in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Shalev Shalom)
    The ministry failed to provide a warning or an explanation to the HMOs regarding the closure. "We have no clue why the complexes are being closed," said a senior HMO official. "We are all completely surprised."
    According to a Health Ministry official, the closure was brought upon by the dramatic decrease in the public's demand to be tested. "There is almost no demand for tests, the complexes are unnecessary."
    3 View gallery
    מתחם היבדק וסע בגני התערוכה תל אביב
    מתחם היבדק וסע בגני התערוכה תל אביב
    Coronavirus test center in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Meanwhile, Magen David Adom's portable drive-in testing centers will remain operational for the time being.
    So far, about 820,000 virus tests have been performed at Magen David Adom's centers, which constitute about 40% of all tests conducted in Israel since the start of the outbreak.
    In addition, the Health Ministry updated the recovery period for asymptomatic coronavirus patients and those whose symptoms first appeared at a date that cannot be determined.
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    בדיקות קורונה במזרח ירושלים
    בדיקות קורונה במזרח ירושלים
    Magen David Adom's test center in east Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    According to the updated guidelines, a patient's recovery period will begin from the day the test is conducted and not from the day the test result is received, effectively shortening the recovery period by about 24 hours.
    According to the ministry, 1,785 new infections were diagnosed on Tuesday. The number of patients in critical condition currently stands at 379, of whom 109 require ventilator aid. While the virus death toll stands at 633.
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