רוני גמזו
Professor Ronni Gamzu
Photo: GPO
Professor Ronni Gamzu

Coronavirus czar warns of imminent closures

Gamzu says that leadership entertains the option of a nationwide lockdown or on COVID-19 hotspots as Israelis less inclined to get tested for virus and fail to observe social distancing

Adir Yanko |
Published: 08.11.20 , 18:44
Coronavirus taskforce chief Prof. Ronni Gamzu warned during a debriefing on Tuesday that general lockdown may be imminent due to a drop in the number of Israelis getting tested for the virus, and the public's failure to adhere to regulations.
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  • According to Prof. Gamzu, the low number of people getting tested may lead to untraceable hidden chains of infection, while continued gatherings of large crowds in closed spaces against Health Ministry regulations cause an exponential increase of infections.
    רוני גמזורוני גמזו
    Professor Ronni Gamzu
    (Photo: GPO)
    "If you cannot prevent yourself from gathering, then perhaps there is no choice but to go into lockdown," Prof. Gamzu told a press debriefing. "It is not a simple burden. I am trying to give the government confidence and hope to the public that it is still possible to follow our current course. Lockdown means another half a million unemployed."
    Gamzu acknowledged that his task force has failed so far to convince the public to observe social distancing
    בדיקות קורונה ברמת השרוןבדיקות קורונה ברמת השרון
    Drive-thru coronavirus testing station in Ramat Hasharon
    (Photo: AFP)
    "The public and business owners must understand that a business that exceeds the crowd limit will be shut down. I want to say that very clearly," said the former Ichilov Hospital chief.
    Gamzu also tried to clam down dears that Israel's hospitals may be on the verge of collapse due to the relatively high number of coronavirus hospitalizations, saying that the healthcare system is fully capable to handle the current workload and that more designated COVID-19 wards will soon be added.
    סגר בשכונות החרדיות בירושלים רוממה ובעלזסגר בשכונות החרדיות בירושלים רוממה ובעלז
    Closure in an Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood
    (Photo: AFP)
    Gamzu also said that Israel's coronavirus response apparatus must better manage localities with high infection rates, such as the ultra-Orthodox communities of Bnei Brak, Elad, Beitar-Illit, and Modiin-Illit.
    "These cities are not managed properly," said Gamzu. "There is much more work to be done there, and it is not happening fast enough. If the infection rate will keep soaring – we may well have to place Modi'in-Illit under lockdown."
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