Rivlin ahead of closure: “We have disappointed you, but I ask to follow the guidelines” // Photo: GPO
Prof. Amos Pent, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, from the Hebrew University Specialist in Molecular Virology explains that the secret to the success of closure depends on the strategy to exit it. “In New York, where there was a terrible crisis in the first wave, there are currently 6,000 researchers out of 8 million people, whose job it is to prevent infection through epidemiological investigations and isolation and so right now in New York there is no second wave at all. The same thing happens in Italy and Germany. A good exit system from the quarantine.
“These countries are different from India, the rest of the United States and Russia, where closures have also been imposed – but the contagion has not stopped. The conclusion is that there is a need for epidemiological investigations, a gradual opening of trade while maintaining rules and a good location of all the people who have been exposed to the virus carriers. This is how disease can be defeated.
“I will give an example, in New Zealand there were two months without infection and then four cases were discovered in Auckland and a closure was made on a million people. When you do that then you succeed. Everything. What is needed at the moment is investigations, placements, isolations and clear rules. If this is how it works then we will succeed in Israel as well. I am actually optimistic from the moment the army gets involved. The IDF is a skilled body that knows how to manage such an array. “.
“For the closure to work, the leadership must regain the public’s trust.”
“Israel is already all red”
Prof. Erna Tal, deputy director of the Shamir Medical Center (Assaf Harofeh), believes that the infection in Israel is almost out of control. “The country is red and in fact no longer sure that a closure can work,” she said, adding, “A closure depends on three main factors, discipline of the citizens, a sense of social belonging and managerial transparency – that is, clear management by the government. Or events but on the street itself, people walking with their noses out of the mask or with a half mask in. Worse, declare a closure and instead of being disciplined everyone is combing, trying to circumvent the instructions instead of realizing that the closure is very important.
“When this is the reality as a nation then we have a problem with the public itself. If it were not for this behavior there would have been no need for closure, because masks alone are enough and do not even need gloves. In New Zealand, the prime minister spoke to the public, made an orderly plan and the public believed in the plan and always knew what was happening. In Germany, Angela Merkel explained everything, said what the process was and the public listened, so in both countries the closures worked. In the former Soviet Union, for example Moldova, Russia and other countries, the corona started in a small wave and now explodes in the face of governments despite closures. The reason is that the public does not believe in leadership, the leadership itself does not explain what is happening and hides the disease.
“Beyond that, in Israel, unfortunately, the medical establishment also speaks with several voices. Prof. Yoram Les opposes saying that corona is a serious disease. There are experts who speak out against closure, there are those who are in favor and there is a lack of uniformity. Prof. Gamzo makes decisions and the government then cuts them, changes them, everyone pulls the decision in his own direction and the message to the public is not good. So unfortunately I am not at all sure that the closure will succeed in Israel. In three weeks the closure will not go down. “40 are contagious as in the first wave, but maybe we will go back to what it was a few weeks ago before the huge jump of now. Therefore, a three-week closure will not start to stop the eruption at all.”
At the end of her speech, Prof. Erna Tal says that the medical staffs have reached the limit of their abilities and their fatigue is evident. “I have been in the hospital since the beginning of March. Every time different parties ask for reports, give instructions and the staff is very stressed beyond the illness of instructions and procedures. Now this team is worn out because it is constantly in a combat procedure, the situation is getting longer so even though there are beds in the team there is noticeable fatigue. The teams also contract themselves, the pressure creates a huge tension in the system and there is great fatigue, “she concludes.
“Closure alone will never succeed”
Professor Leonid Eidelman states that in order for a closure to be successful, comprehensive preparations are needed beyond the closure, which includes inspections, isolation of people and rapid activity by the authorities. “The feeling is that in Israel the government initially decided to go to the closure, but this time too it will not help.” Beyond Israel, however, he states that closures are helpful and good when done correctly.
“In the field of closures there is written literature and research and in fact the logic itself supports the results of the studies. Once you separate people, there are no meetings and no gatherings, the infection goes down. There are also studies that show that when people travel less in vehicles then there is less infection. First I will mention the places where the closure was very successful. In New Zealand, around Australia the city of Melbourne was closed by six million people and it was successful, in South Korea there was a very impressive success in terms of closure, so was Singapore, Hong Kong and even China itself after the blow. “First, the administration understood the matter and acted correctly and made an effective closure for an entire area, a large area like all of Israel and more. But and this is the important point, closure is a paying part, part of a larger process that if done in Israel then we should not have reached our place right now.”
There are red areas in the country, where every fourth and maybe even third person is infected with the virus, if we had done a spot closure on such areas the closure would have been avoided at the moment. In the same way when you have a large amount of tests you identify right where there are hot areas and you isolate them, you take out the patients and treat them and the whole process is avoided. But Israel had to do this since June and did nothing. The feeling is that they just decided to come to the closure again. But the damage is great and unfortunately in the way it is being conducted in the country there will again be a closure in December-January, because a comprehensive set-up is needed around the closure and it is simply not done here. We do not do enough tests, do not conduct epidemiological investigations and do not close areas that are hotbeds of outbreaks and do not isolate people early. “
Suddenly, both Britain and the United States have publics and populations similar to those of Israel in terms of character and listening to authority. And yet closures worked well. It has nothing to do with the character of a people but with the leadership and decisions of the government. In my opinion the only culprit in the country is the government.