Israel gets ready to deal with Coronavirus

February 28, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has visited MDA’s National Operations Center in Kiryat Ono, where a joint call centre for Magen David Adom and the Ministry of Health was established on Saturday night specifically to deal with the Coronavirus.


Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Magen David Adom Pic: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister of Health Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, Chairman of the National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat and the Director-General of the Ministry of Health Moshe Bar Siman Tov.

The Prime Minister and Ministers received a report from MDA Director-General Eli Bin about the joint call centre for the Coronavirus treatment and the protection measures taken by the teams that are dispatched to carry out the testing of the civilians who are in quarantine.

Prime Minister and ministers met with MDA’s protected medical teams, learned about the safety measures in the ambulances, and toured the active dispatch work stations.

At the end of the visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “As soon as the Coronavirus appeared, I determined a policy of over-preparation, not under-preparation, for the State of Israel. There was criticism of this but I thought, and still think, that an overly cautious policy is the correct one.

Therefore, since the health of Israeli citizens is our chief concern, we have taken steps that other countries have not. We were the first in the world to block flights from countries in which the virus has a significant presence. We have also taken other measures.

Today, I am announcing another step that we have started to implement, which to the best of my knowledge, is the first in the world. We are the pioneering state that is taking these steps. We are asking whoever comes here from any country in the world, who has the signs of the virus, to call MDA at 101 immediately. There are paramedics and medical personnel here who will respond and, afterwards, doctors who will question anyone with these signs. If it proves necessary, MDA will send paramedics to the home of the respondent to carry out the test – a home test kit. This is innovative and could prevent the spread of the disease. I ask that all Israeli citizens cooperate.

Prime Minister Netanyahu checks systems

I know that there is also a not simple economic burden for airlines and businesses. I have appointed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to head a ministerial committee in order to assist those businesses and airlines.

The citizens of Israel need to know that there is a steady and responsible hand here. We want caution and more caution but we also want responsibility. Therefore, I ask citizens to listen to instructions, cooperate with the authorities and – of course – not be swept away into excessive concerns. We will issue instructions according to developments. Just as we have been the most advanced country in the world in this area up until now – so we will continue to be.

We hope that this will not reach every home but it will still reach homes and will require isolation at home. I ask, according to ability, even though it is burdensome, if isolation is necessary – one person per room. I know that it will be crowded for the other people in the flat but I ask you to do this.

We can control the disease. To the best of my knowledge, we are working better than any other country in the world. This also depends on the instructions that we are issuing from here, from government offices and from the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Eli Bin, MDA Director General added: “We have opened the joint call centre in conjunction with the Ministry of Health under the direction of the Prime Minister as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the virus and to give the citizens the necessary information, guidelines and calm them.  We have already carried out over 400 samples from civilians who are in quarantine at home and if necessary we are prepared to treat them and evacuate them to the hospital.  I appeal to the public to adhere to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines so that we can prevent the spread of the virus. “

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