Israel has been challenged with containing the coronavirus outbreak, with the number of confirmed cases leaping to more than 1,650 overnight. 31 of the patients have been diagnosed as critically ill, with another 47 in moderate condition.
It is important to highlight that 652 of infected individuals are exhibiting only mild or even no symptoms, and are currently being quarantined at home or in state-funded hotels under close medical inspection.
The mortality rate remains exceptionally low at under 0.1% of those who contracted the virus. In comparison, the latest public data shows a of 9.5% death tally in Italy, 6.6% in Spain, 1.3% in the United States and 0.4% in Germany.
Another series of measures Jerusalem unveiled to limit the contagion is aimed at preventing the nation’s healthcare system from becoming overburdened by an overwhelming number of infected patients similar to what is happening in Italy, where hospitals have started selectively treating patients based on survival probability estimations.
While public activity is being further restricted, Israelis are still permitted to leave their homes for to purchase critical goods at pharmacies and supermarkets. All other non-essential stores have been closed. People who are gathered in groups or wandering in public without purpose are subject to fines and possible detention. Moreover, all citizens above the age of 65 have been instructed to enter self-isolation.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said it is imperative ‘to protect our grandfathers and grandmothers’ until the disease has been eradicated, which he cautioned may ultimately infect up to 70% of the populations. Jerusalem’s top defense official nevertheless sought to alleviate public concerns over the coronavirus while stressing the need to contain the epidemic. “We do not want to be in quarantine forever,” he reasoned, saying that the government “will try to balance (the situation). From one side, and this is important, we want to moderate the (infection) graph.” Bennett added that it is vital to “avoid a quick spread of the contagion” that would result in “overflowing hospitals” with “critical cases,” until the country will “ultimately” be able to overcome “the crisis.”
In accordance with Minister Bennett’s assessment with the lengthy and ongoing discussion by the national coronavirus taskforce, the IDF has been granted authority to protect Israeli elders under the guidance of the Defense Ministry. A special unit codenamed the “Golden Guardians” is now being mobilized to provide vital logistical assistance to ensure that older citizens are not lacking any essential commodities and services during the unspecified duration of the self-quarantine.
In related developments, it has been revealed that the largest number of Israelis infected by the coronavirus belong to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Data published by the Center for Information and National Campaign against the Coronavirus, which operates at the service of the Health Ministry, shows that 29% of patients contracted the disease at synagogues and religious seminaries. Another 26% were shown to have been exposed to the virus at commercial centers or restaurants, and 15% percent at hotels. Identification of the location of origin is vital in the campaign to combat COVID-19.