Photo Credit: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a facemask.

Just before Yom Kippur, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a series of discussions in which he instituted the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Among other things, the prime minister ordered preparing an action plan for the health system that would facilitate the treatment of 1,500 critically ill coronavirus patients in by Thursday, October 1.

As of 7:48 PM Monday, Israel has 763 patients whose condition is defined as severe, out of whom 208 are on respirators. A total of 1,499 have died from the pandemic.

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In the discussions, which were attended by government ministers, directors of ministries, the Corona Czar Ronni Gamzu, and other senior officials, Netanyahu designated the goals to be set for the gradual exit from the nationwide lockdown, which would be followed by a “Corona routine.” There was also a discussion of goals and indicators for assessing the situation and examining the required policy.

The government’s press release clearly presented PM Netanyahu as having taken over the coronavirus project, with the consent of the man he had put in charge of it. For instance, the announcement says that Netanyahu has decided that the coming period will be divided into three main stages: lockdown, a gradual transition to the corona routine, and finally finding a vaccine. But no timetable was attached to these rather general milestones.

In addition to the health system’s readiness to treat 1,500 critically ill patients, the Prime Minister has identified nine urgent issues for treatment, including setting goals for a gradual exit from the quarantine to the corona routine, an update on finding a vaccine, and an integrated plan to prepare the education system for operation in the shadow of the corona.

This Wednesday, the Corona Cabinet will convene to discuss these issues, and in particular the continuation of the lockdown outline, the criteria for moving to the next stages, and the additional measures to reduce morbidity.

On Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi announced that starting Tuesday, a month-long curfew will be imposed on the combat unit and on soldiers in training, with exceptions requiring the approval of an officer with the rank of major general. At the bases that remained open, soldiers were instructed to work in shifts while maintaining separate capsules without interactions between them.

“The state of morbidity in the civilian space and in the IDF requires us to take a series of actions to tighten and enhance procedures in all army units,” Kochavi said and added: “Maintaining the IDF’s readiness is a top priority, and as a result, the fight against the corona pandemic within the army is a key mission. We must act immediately and with full force to reduce morbidity in the IDF.”

These are the nine issues the Corona Cabinet will address immediately, according to the PM’s instructions:

  • The health system’s action plan to be able to treat 1,500 critically ill corona patients starting October 1
  • Setting goals for a gradual transfer from a lockdown to a corona routine
  • Update on the state of finding a vaccine
  • Status of purchasing and use of rapid tests
  • Focusing information on the obligation to wear masks and the rules of social distance
  • Discussion of the digital capabilities and tools for the fight against Corona
  • Increasing enforcement capabilities, bigger fines and sanctions for violating regulations
  • An integrated program to prepare the education system for operation in the shadow of the corona
  • Discussion of the protection and assistance program for the elderly population
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David writes news at JewishPress.com.