As of Saturday night, 200 Israeli students and at least 15 teachers are under a self-quarantine after having been exposed to a delegation of South Korean tourists who were subsequently diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus after they returned to their country. A decision was made this weekend by Israel to bar foreign nationals entering from South Korea, adding that country to a list that so far includes China, Japan, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. The infected tourists visited Israel between February 8-15.
Ninety students plus 10 teachers and chaperones from a school in Afula were added to the list of those who are to be quarantined at home late Saturday night.
Thirty eighth-graders and their two teachers from a school in Be’er Sheva had already been instructed earlier in the day on Saturday to enter home isolation after it turned out they had stood near the group of South Korean tourists who were diagnosed upon their return to their homeland. The students and their teachers will remain in isolation until Thursday.
Sixty eighth graders, five teachers and a guard from a school in Haifa were also told to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, Israel’s Health Ministry announced on Saturday. The students and the staff members who were with them were visiting the national park at Masada at the same time as the delegation of South Koreans, 19 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19.
In addition, a group of high school students from the Negev Bedouin town of Keseifa were also at Masada at the same time as the South Koreans, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 13 News.
— almog boker (@bokeralmog) February 22, 2020
South Korean officials confirmed on Saturday that so far 433 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been diagnosed in the country, and that two people have died of the illness. Since Friday alone, 229 new cases were diagnosed in South Korea.
New MDA Hotline
Under the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, Magen David Adom opened a special hotline on Saturday night, focusing on treating people suspected of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus. Within hours of the opening of the hotline, hundreds of citizen inquiries were received regarding the virus at MDA’s 101 hotline.
Anyone who is required to be in quarantine according to the Health Ministry guidelines, or anyone who has been in contact with a coronavirus patient, or someone who suspects they may be infected with the virus and who has symptoms such as fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms should call the Magen David Adom 101 Emergency Call Center.
Medics and paramedics at the 101 hotline will join the call with the on-call doctor or nurse who then decides to consult with a physician at the Ministry of Health whether there is a need for medical care and if so, how to proceed.
According to the patient’s symptoms, a decision is made whether to send an ambulance to evacuate the patient to the hospital, or to send a paramedic to the patient in his home and take a sample to be analyzed without evacuating the patient at this time. The sample will be sent forward to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, in order to deny the presence of Corona virus. If necessary, an ambulance will be called to evacuate the patient to the hospital under special isolation conditions.
“Dozens of experienced and professional paramedics have joined the mission, as they recognize the importance of conducting medical examinations in the patient’s home to prevent the spread of the virus in Israel,” said MDA director-general Eli Bin.
“Paramedics are protected at the highest level, using dedicated anti-infection kits, according to the protocol used in infectious cases, where we see routinely.”
Dozens of paramedics at Magen David Adom underwent dedicated training on how to collect samples from the patients, in order to deny the presence of the coronavirus. As part of the training, paramedics practiced taking the patient’s samples while staying fully protected against infection. The medics and paramedics in MDA 101 Emergency Call Center were also trained to question and manage the cases. Magen David Adom has developed a special system, where among other things, a video call with the patient can be made.
Magen David Adom continues to operate the inspection post at Ben Gurion International Airport, where MDA EMTs and paramedics question travelers and perform tests to those who arrive at the stand in accordance with the medical protocols set by the Ministry of Health.