'Welcome to Hotel Coronavirus: An oasis of pleasure and relaxation'

Defense Minister at Dan Panorama Hotel: 'National goal is to suppress spread; hotels will be home to light carriers in coming months.'

Yoni Kempinski ,

Bennett at Coronavirus Hotel
Bennett at Coronavirus Hotel
Tal Oz / Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett today visited the first coronavirus recovery hotel at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv.

The Minister visited IDF Home Front Command, the Health Ministry, Defense Ministry, Israel Police, and the National Emergency Authority, and was briefed on logistical preparations for receiving infected patients.

During the day, the first three patients will arrive by ambulance from the hospital to the Dan Panorama hotel.

Bennett said: "We have a huge goal that as many carriers as possible will come here. These hotels will be an island of pleasantness, relaxation, and a home to the light coronavirus carriers in coming months.

"We took on the task on Saturday and now, Tuesday noon, we're operational. I want to say a big thank you to the Home Front Command, the Defense Ministry, the Defense Ministry Director General, the Health Ministry Director General, and all those involved in the job. The business works and is well-managed."

Bennett sent a message to the Israeli public: "We'll get through through this incident together. We're in an event unprecedented in the last century. The big goal is to locate the carriers and isolate them from the population."

The Defense Minister elaborated on the government's plan of action to deal with the pandemic: "On a factual level, we're already experiencing an exponential growth in Israel - two weeks ago we were on a daily pace of 3 carriers a day, a week later 10 a day, and a week later, now, we're at about 50 a day. That means every week we multiply by a factor of four.

"We don't know what the next month will be like. The national goal is to suppress the spread so we don't reach the Italian situation where hospitals are under such strain that a hospital doctor has to choose who will live and who will die, the grandfather or the father. We don't want to reach this situation. We want the hospital to absorb all patients and provide optimal treatment throughout the crisis."

Bennett presented four modes of action: "1) Public behavior - washing eyes, staying two meters away, etc. 2) The Israeli government's macro decisions: Diminishing social activity in Israel, and yes, a real and painful economic downturn, but there's no choice. 3) The accumulated information in the world clearly indicates that the deadliest connection is between a grandfather and his grandson, between the elderly and the young. That's the most dangerous thing. The most dangerous vulnerability of all is when a Grandpa meets his son.

"It's the responsibility of all of us to embrace and envelop Grandpa and Grandma with love on the phone and with food, but - don't come close to them. If we get close, we're really risking their lives. It's very likely that this room currently has someone who's carrying coronavirus. From the global information it turns out that there are loads of young people carrying the virus and they don't know it. They'll go through the five weeks and then be immune.

"Whoever is watching me now - there are some among you carrying the virus right now, which is fine, you don't know and you won't know. Mortality rates among young people are very low, I say cautiously based on the information coming from all over the world. Mortality rates among adult carriers are very high. Among those aged 80 and over, it is 1 in 5. 1 in 5 grandparents will be infected with the virus because their grandson hugged them, and they may die. The national and critical mission is to send love, but from a distance. Watch out for your grandparents. You're a ticking bomb to them."

Another action Bennett introduced to eradicate coronavirus is to increase the scope of the tests and to isolate those known to carry the virus, keep them away so they don't infect others. These hotels will be very pleasant, the experience will be positive. I have assigned to the Home Front Command two major missions in the hotel: There should be real isolation, and it should be a very pleasant experience.

"All hotel guests who are light coronavirus bearers, cannot infect each other again. They may certainly have social activity and I appreciate that there will be interesting things here. I expect guests to show mutual responsibility because we don't want to send staff to touch guests so I expect their cooperation.

"There are three options for a person who turns out to be a carrier: If he's seriously ill - he must go to hospital. If he's a light patient - the preferred option is to come to a hotel. If there are personal circumstances that do not allow arrival, there can be home hospitalization. The problem with home hospitalization is that you infect the whole family. The reason I oppose home hospitalization as much as possible is that it isn't feasible; realistically to be in a room for 5 weeks is impossible. It's a logistical nightmare, it's hard to keep track of people, and suddenly in hours there can be a worsening to dangerous pneumonia and it's best to be with a medical team."

Defense Minister Bennett added: "The hotel that opened today can hold 500 guests. It will expand to 1,800 guests and so will it be in all places. We'll open more and more hotels as needed, we'll always be one step ahead. We'll always take one step forward and anticipate the coronavirus."