Assessment:
Health Ministry worst-case-scenario: 5,000 on ventilator

In past day another 169 new coronavirus patients diagnosed in Israel. Corona Cabinet decides to stop planned ease-ups on restrictions.

Tags: Coronavirus
Mordechai Sones ,

Moshe Bar Simantov
Moshe Bar Simantov
Flash 90

The Health Ministry is preparing for a massive and extreme wave of coronavirus: Before today's Cabinet meeting, the Health Ministry presented a second-wave worst-case scenario, which was shown to a very short list of ministers.

According to the scenario, the assumption is that the second wave will be more significant, affect more patients, the virus will hit more strongly, and the second wave will require no less than 5,000 ventilators.

According to the Channel 12 News report, these estimates are not similar to scenarios other government ministries and professionals say will occur and the ministers did not have enough time to discuss them at the Corona Cabinet meeting held today.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in closed talks, addressed the rising number of infected, saying, "If the trend continues, we'll consider going back and closing what we've already opened." Netanyahu added: "If we're forced to do so, we'll do it in a way that is least harmful to the economy."

According to Health Ministry data released this evening, there has been an increase in the number of patients diagnosed in Israel, with 169 new patients bringing the number to 2,607 coronavirus patients, of whom 23 are on ventilator. The number of coronavirus deaths is 298.

קבינט קורונה
צילום: עמוס בן גרשום, לע''מ

In light of the increase in the number of coronavirus patients diagnosed in Israel, the Corona Cabinet decided to halt the relief in restrictions planned in recent days. Resumption of rail traffic will be postponed at least a week and so will the opening of the Culture Center that is now not expected to open in coming days.

"We just finished in the Corona Cabinet," Prime Minister Netanyahu said. "The session opened with a review by the experts, they showed us there's a very sharp increase in infection. It's possible that we're already within this metric of doubling within ten days the rate of infection. I really hope not.

"The thing we decided to do first was to lift the handbrakes. We stopped all the relief in restrictions we were supposed to apply in the coming days; we'll check it this coming week. One exception is event halls - we will let them operate in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines and we'll report to you as things progress."

The Prime Minister asked the public to heed health guidelines: "The main thing that all the experts and all the knowledgeable people emphasize is that you have to keep the three rules. I call them 'Pesach, Matzah, and Maror' - it's wearing masks, keeping 2 meters away, and hygiene - hand washing.

"I ask you, for our economy, for our health, for the lives of us all - please follow the rules," Netanyahu said.

In the meantime, 63 schools and kindergartens will return to a semblance of routine activity in the coming week. These are educational institutions whose students and teachers were in isolation in the immediate action taken by the Education Ministry with the detection of school or preschool infection, in addition to their immediate closure.

Currently, there are 385 students and teaching staff infected with coronavirus. 135 educational institutions have closed. 17,605 teaching staff and students are in preventative isolation. These schools have moved to remote study to continue their schooling as much as possible.



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