During Monday’s meeting of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, Israel’s Corona Czar Professor Ronni Gamzu announced that the period of isolation will soon be shortened to 12 days, “using a test that will be performed after 10 days.”
Committee Chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) welcomed the news, saying, “Every day of isolation has a direct impact on the economy,” and “if you can save on isolation days – you can do improve the economy.”
Prof. Gamzu said the current reproduction number of the coronavirus in Israel “during a second lockdown with a weary population” is 0.6. “Reaching this reproduction number is a badge of honor for all the sectors in the State of Israel,” Gamzu stated.
The reproductive number, represented as RO, refers to the number of new infections that one infected individual can cause in a susceptible population. If the R0 is above 1, each infection breeds more, and the outbreak will continue to grow. When it falls below 1, the outbreak will continue but at a lower death rate, since less than 1 infected case follows the resolution of an earlier case by death or recovery.
“With all the difficulties, the public took the matter seriously. Our citizens are responsible. They cooperated, and their confidence in the decisions was high,” Prof. Gamzu told the committee. He noted that teens and young adults, who can be carriers without displaying severe symptoms of the disease, “are the engine of the pandemic.”
“They [contract the virus], carry it, usually they do not get sick, and they push the contagion forward to older people,” Prof. Gamzu explained. “There is no dam that can stop this flow, and therefore it is important to prevent infection within this population. We have to wait for the opening of the education system – elementary schools, high schools – and do it carefully. Because these children and teenagers interact with adults and elderly people.”
Prof. Gamzu said Israel’s healthcare system is “strong and stable, and is built on strength, dedication and determined workers.” The percentage of people who die from coronavirus in Israel is among the lowest in the world, he said. “It will not be Italy here, never,” Prof. Gamzu stated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday during a visit to Rambam Hospital in Haifa that “we have seen that the lockdown is working quickly. The achievements of the lockdown should be maintained through a gradual exit and in compliance with the guidelines.”
Netanyahu added: “There are two red cities that are starting to fall out of this definition, and it depends on their following the guidelines. I call on the entire Haredi public to observe them. We will enforce the rules, but it is more important that you enforce them. If we do that, we will get out of the second wave in a good way.”