Thursday, January 20th | 18 Shevat 5782

August 12, 2020 9:29 am

Israeli Coronavirus Project Coordinator Urges Public to Get Tested, Adhere to Rules to Avoid Lockdown

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A teacher shows children how to wash their hands at her kindergarten as Israeli preschools opened under the further easing of restrictions to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Jerusalem May 10, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen. – Israeli Coronavirus Project Coordinator Ronni Gamzu urged the public to get tested for COVID-19 and warned that failure to adhere to social-distancing restrictions and limits on the size of gatherings could lead to another countrywide lockdown, which would be disastrous for the already ailing economy.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Gamzu expressed concern that the number of tests being conducted has gone down from 30,000 to 26,000 per day, due to a lack of public demand for various reasons, among them fear of strain on hospitals. This fear, he said, is unwarranted outside of Jerusalem, and any overflow of coronavirus patients in the capital can be handled by moving them to other parts of the country.

Whoever fails to get tested, he stressed, possibly is “infecting friends wherever they go,” he said. “Maybe they are avoiding isolation, but it doesn’t make sense.”

Gamzu noted, “It is not a simple burden and responsibility that I take on, and try to give confidence to ministers and the government that it is still possible to [avoid a nationwide lockdown], and give hope to the 800,000 unemployed people for a return to work.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 24,963 active coronavirus cases, with 780 in hospitals and the rest recovering at home or in hotels. Of these, 379 are in serious condition, with 109 on ventilators, and another 160 in moderate condition. The national death toll was 633.

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