Photo Credit: Chen Leopold / Flash 90
Magen David Adom medical worker tests a woman at a drive-through site to collect samples for coronavirus testing on July 10, 2020.

Israeli lawmakers have approved a decision by the Coronavirus Committee to trim the COVID-19 quarantine period from 14 to 12 days for those who have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus patient, and for those who have returned to Israel from nations with significant COVID-19 morbidity – IF the individual tests negative for the virus, twice.

The new guideline takes effect at midnight Thursday night and will continue to be in effect until the end of December.

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If the program is deemed a success, there is a possibility the quarantine period might even be shortened further, to 10 days.

To end the quarantine, one must notify the Health Ministry of one’s entry into quarantine, take an initial PCR test for COVID-19 immediately and then take a second test from the tenth day onward, after the final contact with a confirmed patient or upon return to Israel, after the first test.

Here’s the glitch: If one is in quarantine, you can only be tested at a drive-in testing point. To find one, and set up the appointment, call Magen David Adom.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters following the Coronavirus Committee meeting Thursday that Israel’s exit from the current restrictions that remain in place be done “gradually and responsibly.” Alongside the importance of opening up the economy, commerce and “everything else,” as he put it, he insisted “we must do so responsibly because otherwise we will simply go back to where we were.

“Today, we are in a very good place, many countries would like to trade places with us, regarding both vaccines and day-to-day because our level of morbidity is lower than in Europe and we need to keep it that way. Therefore, the opening will be done in this manner, when we open something, we subtract something in order to reduce the danger of morbidity.

“Today I asked that I be provided with an orderly plan regarding the red cities that will enable us to open up the rest of the country, and we are also evaluating other possibilities. We will do this responsibly in order to safeguard your lives and health, citizens of Israel, and to facilitate the economy and education. With God’s help, we will succeed.”

Netanyahu added his thanks to Professor Roni Gamzu, who for the past months has served as Coronavirus Commissioner, for his “dedicated service to the State of Israel, in difficult times,” and wished his replacement, Nachman Ash, “success in the position, a difficult position.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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