חיטוי בית ספר "הגימנסיה" בירושלים
Disinfecting a Jerusalem high school at the center of a new coronavirus outbreak
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Disinfecting a Jerusalem high school at the center of a new coronavirus outbreak

Israel is rudderless as second virus wave crashes

Opinion: The ship of state is sinking and it is unclear who is in charge, but unless they admit the truth of the fresh outbreak and impose strict enforcement of regulations and social distancing, our fate will be sealed

Sarit Rosenblum |
Published: 06.04.20, 23:17
After weeks of dragging its feet, the Health Ministry gaily announced on Wednesday the beginning of nationwide serological testing, meant to measure the extent of coronavirus morbidity in Israel.
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  • But anyone wishing to be truly informed about the spread of the disease does not need the tests and should rather take a glance at the most recent data.
    4 View gallery
    חיטוי בית ספר "הגימנסיה" בירושלים
    חיטוי בית ספר "הגימנסיה" בירושלים
    Disinfecting a Jerusalem high school at the center of a new coronavirus outbreak
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    For a week now, the number of new coronavirus patients has steadily risen, spreading throughout the nation and among all age groups.
    Most of the attention is on the education system, but schools are merely the symptom, with students spreading the disease from classroom to home and back again.
    Those still dwelling on the theoretical question of whether this constitutes a second wave of infections can stop pondering – the virus has returned and in force.
    The two questions still left unanswered are "what do we do now?" and "why the hell hasn't it been done already?"
    4 View gallery
    A health worker staffs a coronavirus testing facility in Ramat Hasharon, central Israel
    A health worker staffs a coronavirus testing facility in Ramat Hasharon, central Israel
    A health worker staffs a coronavirus testing facility in Ramat Hasharon, central Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    You do not have to be a general to understand that you cannot wage war without a military chief and a functioning General Staff. But Israel in June 2020 is fighting the virus leaderless.
    Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would expect that by now, the state would have an organized system of tests and quarantines, which would allow health officials to isolate any possible outbreak. But there is not.
    Those who test positive for the virus and are mandated to enter quarantine are ordered to do so without any subsequent oversight.
    In a survey conducted in the U.K., 10% of those questioned said that in a scenario where they were exposed to the virus, they would not adhere to public health guidelines.
    The Brits are more cordial and well mannered than the Israelis, so there is no reason to believe that the Israeli public would behave any more responsibly.
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    מסיבת העיתונאים של משרד הבריאות בעקבות עליה במספר חולי הקורונה
    מסיבת העיתונאים של משרד הבריאות בעקבות עליה במספר חולי הקורונה
    L-R: Health Ministry No. 2 Prof. Itamar Grotto, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov and head of Public Health Services Prof. Sigal Sadetsky
    The Health Ministry was criticized relentlessly during Israel's brief honeymoon between the end of the first wave and the beginning of the second one.
    The opinions of those who handled the first wave of infections, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov and the head of Public Health Services Prof. Sigal Sadetsky are heard less and less – for better or for worse.
    It is unclear who is steering the ship of state during this new outbreak or who decides on the severity of the situation or what steps need to be taken to stop the spread.
    Is it the prime minister? The new health minister? The finance minister? Are they making decisions based on data and knowledge or just their gut feelings?
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    יולי אדלשטיין
    יולי אדלשטיין
    Health Minister Yuli Edelstein talks to medics protesting in Herzliya over their working conditions
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    The reluctance of the country's leaders to acknowledge the fact we are again in the throes of another national crisis is spreading among the citizenry, leading to mass gatherings on rooftops and beaches and in city squares.
    The second wave of the coronavirus has crashed over the ship of state and it is starting to sink.
    If we don't man the lifeboats – opening a centralized command structure to track and fight the outbreak and imposing uncompromising enforcement of regulations and social distancing – our fate will be worse than that of the passengers on the Diamond Princess, aka the coronavirus cruise.
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