Also, in the discussion, an argument arose between the participants regarding the issue of information, since seven months into the corona crisis – there is still no agreed body.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that “the issue of information is not addressed. We continue to go round and round.” He read details from an AMN report, saying that “one should explain and not scare.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replied: “I asked to transfer responsibility for the issue to the Home Front Command as early as the beginning of August.”
Ganz responded to Netanyahu’s words: “You have a mechanism that knows how to do this, just activate it. The responsibility must be transferred to one place in an orderly strategy and translated into action.” The prime minister replied: “A website was set up – but it did not reach the public. Due to that, I asked to make videos that would be distributed to the media.”
At this point, the commander of the Home Front Command, Major General Tamir Yedai, intervened and said that the responsibility for the information issue had not been transferred to him. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein then emphasized that the information was carried out by his ministry in coordination with the Home Front Command: “There are new videos of the Ministry of Health, and if a decision is made to transfer the matter to the Home Front Command – I will object.”
Finally, it was agreed that a team from the Ministry of Health and the Home Front Command would convene and pass on a recommendation to Netanyahu and Gantz.
Meanwhile, the Corona Cabinet decided to double the number of tests in nursing homes and geriatric institutions, build an outline for a visit of a family member of an elderly person living alone, prioritize queues for adults and a dedicated outreach effort for the elderly population.
During the discussion, Minister of Social Equality Meirav Cohen (blue and white) noted that in the first wave of morbidity, about 56% of the deaths were among the residents of the institutions (nursing homes and geriatric institutions) and that today, in the second wave of morbidity, the death rate dropped to 30%. She explained the data in the large amount of checks that are performed daily among the employees who enter the institutions. Today, it should be noted, the average daily number of tests is about 12,000 tests.
At the hearing, the project manager Prof. Roni Gamzo proposes to increase the fines for violating the guidelines – including imposing a fine of NIS 1,000 for those who do not wear a mask, and NIS 50,000 for those who hold a multi-participant event. Cabinet ministers are expected to oppose the withdrawal plan, which is expected to be slow and protracted. He said that there is a decrease in public traffic of 43% and that the population largely adheres to the closure guidelines.
This is a significant reduction in fines: the fine for opening businesses and public or business places whose opening is prohibited by regulations will be doubled from 5,000 to 10,000, and the fine for holding multi-participant events – including parties, conferences, and ceremonies – will increase by 10,000 to 50,000. The fine for an educational or boarding institution in violation of the guidelines will also increase from 5,000 to 50,000.
Insulation violators will now be fined 10,000 instead of 5,000, and those who do not wear a mask will be required to pay 1,000 shekels instead of 500 today. In addition to tightening fines, Prof. Gamzo sought to emphasize advocacy for all sectors on the appropriate platforms, including a campaign in the “Tiktok” widget for youth.
Also, according to one of Prof. Gamzo’s presentations, the amount of tests that the health system can perform by November 1 will be 80,000 a day, and not 100,000 as was initially expected. However, this is still a high rate of testing compared to the world. According to the forecasts presented in the Cabinet, by October 6, there will be 1,090 critically ill patients in Israel – and in the mildest scenario 826. In light of the expected increase in critically ill patients, Prof. Gamzo In the various hospitals for the treatment of corona patients.
Prof. Gamzo also presents in the discussion his strategy for getting out of the crisis, according to which the reopening will be graded – at each stage there will be relief in one area or one sector, and there will be a three-week wait between stages. The decision on the transition between stages will be made according to the coefficient of adhesion.
Prof. Gamzo’s presentations
According to Prof. Gamzo’s plan, in order to be able to start the steps out of quarantine and return to routine, the coefficient of infection (R) must be lower than 0.8, the number of severe patients lower than 700 and the percentage of positive tests lower than 5%.
When the coefficient of infection is between 0.8 and 0.9, it will be possible to consider opening a range that is estimated to increase the coefficient of infection by only 0.1, but if the coefficient of infection exceeds 0.9, stop and do not proceed in the next opening stages, and even consider further aggravation in the guidelines. If the adhesion coefficient exceeds 1.1, return to the previous step immediately. Prof. Gamzo noted that “going out in low numbers increases the ability to open up the economy.”
In the case where the coefficient of infection is between 0.6 and 0.8, the number of patients is expected to drop by half every one to two weeks. Within six to 12 weeks of the closure, Israel is expected to reach 100 infected a day, but in less than a month less than 1,000.
The presentation to the ministers also presented the various industries of the economy on a graph, with the y-axis being their contribution to the product, and the x-axis being the level of risk for the spread of the disease. For example, high-tech was placed in the highest place on the right – that is, a high contribution to the product, and a low risk of the disease spreading. Open-air works, such as agriculture and construction, were placed on the bottom right – low risk but low contribution to GDP. Retail sales in malls and markets were placed on the left side in the middle – high risk of the disease spreading, a reasonable contribution to the economy. In the lowest contribution and at the highest risk, places of entertainment and leisure were set up with a gathering – cinema, music and entertainment shows, sports events and the like.
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