Rivlin opens second Coronavirus call centre.

March 13, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has inaugurated the new national emergency call centre jointly run by Magen David Adom (MDA) and the IDF Homefront Command in Ramle as part of the efforts to deal with the Coronavirus.

President Rivlin talks with MDA’s CEO Eli Bean  Photo: Mark Neyman/GPO

The president was briefed on the role of MDA in dealing with the virus, how it is organized and the challenges it faces. The president was escorted on the visit by Eli Bean, CEO of MDA  and by GOC IDF Homefront Command Maj Gen Tamir Yadai.

The centre is a joint initiative of MDA and IDF that adds 100 phone positions to help ensure that the best possible response is given to the thousands of calls made to MDA each day on the 101 emergency line since the Coronavirus reached Israel.

The president said, “Israelis, like people around the world, are battling a plague that is hitting all humanity. Of course, in Israel, we are protected by Magen David Adom and the IDF, the people’s shield and the people’s army. It’s only natural that these forces join together as they do whenever we are at risk. Everyone has faith in you and knows that they can do so. We must listen to the instructions. Often, we are a little dismissive of instructions or we think ‘they are very important for other people, but not for us.’ We must strictly follow all the instructions we have been given because they have been properly and carefully thought through to prevent any danger to us all. I came here to thank you – and I thank you.”

The president chatted with the phone operators, saying, “You are used to being on the front line. Used to being first to arrive at any emergency that crops up. And with this unique threat, too, you are on the front line. You are the first link in the chain of treating those who need testing. This is a critical stage in containing the outbreak of the virus. It also requires precise information and diagnosis.”

MDA CEI Eli Bean sanitizes the president’s hands Photo: Mark Neyman

CEO of MDA, Eli Bean: “We set up this 101 call centre so that Israelis can get responses to questions about corona. The pressure on the MDA call centre is unbelievable. We have separated the centres that deal with ambulances and emergency treatment from where people call to about corona. We agreed with the IDF that, if necessary, we will enlarge this call centre. At the moment, we are opening around another 100 lines for calls to 101 about corona. We set this call centre up in the space of 12 hours and I have to tell you that we see this as a national mission that was given to us by the Ministry of Health and the State of Israel, and that we are doing everything possible to limit the extent of infection on one hand, and to reduce the level of public concern and to give people answers.

We are prepared for extreme scenarios. If heaven forbid, we will expand this and, of course, the IDF will be part of the process and take command.”

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