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April 21, 2020 11:40 am

The Economic Crisis Will Kill More People Than the Coronavirus, Warns Israeli HMO Head

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wears a face mask for protection from the coronavirus as he burns chametz in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, ahead of the Passover holiday, April 8, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

CTech – The economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will kill more people than the virus itself, Israeli health maintenance organization (HMO) Maccabi Healthcare Services CEO Ran Saar said in a recent interview with Calcalist.

“I hear the cries of the self-employed and small business owners. Such a person is on the verge of suffering a medical event due to stress, pain, and fear, and this can manifest itself into a mental or physical condition. The loss to the economy will be mad. When we are done with the coronavirus and the healthcare system will no longer be in everyone’s focus, because of the poor economic situation, there will be no money for healthcare,” Saar said.

“It is quite clear that it is impossible to really renew the economy’s activities without bringing the education system, at least for the young children, back online” he said.

“Today, it is also clear to the Ministry of Health that the right move was to pass the treatment on to the HMOs directly: they know the job, and they conduct 20 million unrelated tests per year,” he added. “Send us the tests and you’ll get results within 24 hours.”

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Israel recorded its 181st coronavirus (Covid-19) death and saw a total of 13,883 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Tuesday morning, according to the country’s Health Ministry. The number of people in severe condition dropped to 142, with 113 of them requiring connection to ventilators. More than 4,350 people throughout the country have recovered from the disease. Israel has a total of 2,391 ventilator beds.

The encouraging numbers have led government decision-makers to ease restrictions on office and business closures. As of earlier this week, workplaces are allowed to have up to 30% of the workforce come to the office, provided they follow a series of guidelines including the appointment of a dedicated coronavirus officer in charge of ensuring social distancing and protective gear compliance. The following businesses have been allowed to re-open: computer and electronics stores, textile manufacturers, furniture stores, home appliance stores, household goods providers (does not extend to toy stores), book and magazine stores, office supplies stores, sporting goods stores, music stores, medical supply stores, laundromats, and clothes and shoe repair shops.

Following the signing of a coalition agreement between the ruling Likud Party and the Blue and White Party on Monday, the parliamentary coronavirus oversight committees, which until now was headed by a represent of the opposition-bound Yesh Atid Party, will now be headed by a member of the Likud.

A 48-year-old man with no pre-existing health conditions passed away from complications related to coronavirus, Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv confirmed Tuesday morning.

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