מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים רמבם בחיפה
Treating a coronavirus patient at Ramabam Healthcare Campus in Haifa
Photo: Courtesy of Rambam
Health Ministry Director-General Hezi Levy

Health chief: New full lockdown could last a month

Health Ministry DG's warning comes during conference call with government officials, hospital directors; attendees told it will take more than 90 days to get Israel's infection rate down to below 400 daily cases; healthcare facility chiefs warn they are close to overload

Adir Yanko |
Published: 09.09.20 , 15:49
Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levi warned Tuesday night that if Israel does go into another widespread general closure, "it will last a month."
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  • Levi's warning regarding an extended closure came made during a late night Zoom meeting attended by senior Health Ministry officials, including Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and the heads of a number of hospitals.
    חזי לוי מנכ"ל משרד הבריאותחזי לוי מנכ"ל משרד הבריאות
    Health Ministry Director-General Hezi Levy
    (Photo: GPO)
    Despite being the first estimate given so far regarding the time frame of a general closure, sources who attended the meeting claimed that they had received the impression that if imposed, such a closure could last even longer than one month.
    During the meeting, the hospital directors outlined the conditions in Israel's overwhelmed healthcare facilities and stressed their fears that the country would reaching tipping point in terms of the number of virus patients even before winter brings flu season.
    מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים רמבם בחיפהמחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים רמבם בחיפה
    Treating a coronavirus patient at Ramabam Healthcare Campus in Haifa
    (Photo: Courtesy of Rambam)
    "The ministry officials were shocked," said a source familiar with the details of the meeting.
    Attendees were updated on data gathered by the Health Ministry's National Information and Knowledge Center, including an estimate that it will not be possible to bring down infection rates to 400 daily cases in less than 90 days. Israel on Tuesday saw more than 3,000 new cases.
    Some participants in the meeting expressed the belief that senior Health Ministry officials are seeking to impose a general closure immediately.
    "If it takes us three months to get down to 400 patients per day, that is very disturbing," said a source present at the meeting.
    "All hospital directors expressed deep concern about the rate at which the disease is developing, the number of patients in critical condition and the death toll."
    According to the same source, "It does not appear that tough yet effective measures have been taken to curb the rising number of patients and deaths.
    "The healthcare system is very close to the limit of what it can do to provide full care to patients. We called for an immediate closure, which Prof. Levy said would last at least a month," the source said.

    שוטרים בכניסה לטירה בעקבות הסגר הלילישוטרים בכניסה לטירה בעקבות הסגר הלילי
    Security forces implementing the nighttime curfew in the town of Tira, a coronavirus hotspot
    (Photo: Tal Shahar)
    The coronavirus cabinet was expected make a decisive discussion on the possibility of full closure on Wednesday, as well as discuss the option of additional restrictions during the High Holidays.
    One such restriction, as revealed by Ynet, will be possibly shuttering the entire education system during the upcoming Jewish High Holidays in order to avoid large gatherings of students and reduce the chances of them passing the infection on to their families.
    Israel on Tuesday began implementing night-time curfews in dozens of communities, neighborhoods and cities with a high infection rate. The week-long measure begins at 7pm and ends at 5am every day.
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