Red, yellow and green: 'Traffic Light' plan approved

The 'traffic light' plan has been approved by the Coronavirus Cabinet.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Prof. Gamzu at Central Command
Prof. Gamzu at Central Command
IDF Spokesman

The Coronavirus Cabinet approved Prof. Roni Gamzu's "traffic light" program tonight (Sunday), transferring a large portion of responsibility for fighting the disease from the state to local authorities. The plan is slated to go into effect on September 1.

"We have approved the 'traffic light' model, developed in coordination with the Defense Ministry for the fight against the coronavirus. The program, led by Coronavirus Czar, Professor Gamzu, will divide local authorities into four color types representing different infection rates: green, yellow, orange and red. I will continue allowing the defense establishment to assist in the nationwide virus-fighting effort," said Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The plan divides the State of Israel into 250 local authorities. Each will receive a weighted score depending on the local infection rate represented by a color to be reassessed based on new statistics and adjusted accordingly every two weeks.

The color of each authority will be determined according to three parameters: rate of new infections, percentage of positive test results, and change in morbidity stats. The plan calls for increased virus testing since ranking cannot be improved if there is substantial decrease in the number of tests.

Prof. Gamzu told Yediot Ahronot that "the most important measure is the rate of people testing positive. This will prevent a situation where people are not tested enough and, resulting in latent morbidity." "A mayor interested in changing his city's status will have to prevent a drop-off in testing," he added.

The state will adjust the types of activities allowed to take place in a certain city based on its color ranking. Some of these - education, transportation, work, public transportation and cultural events - will need to receive special approval at the national level. A city's color code will determine its daily routine for the duration of the crisis.

Prayer services, restaurants, fairs, cultural events, mikvahs, hotels, markets, cafes, swimming pool activities, and more will be approved according to a city's rating. A new app has been created to allow individuals entering a given city to view its color rating.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that according to a new study conducted by Prof. Mark Last of Ben-Gurion University, Israel will reach a state of 'herd immunity' against the coronavirus within a period of two weeks.

'Herd immunity' is a scenario in which the percentage of a population which has already contracted and recovered from a viral disease is so high that the rate of new infections drops as more and more people gain immunity to the disease, eventually reaching near-zero.

According to Prof. Last: "The State of Israel must preserve the existing situation in order to reduce the number of infections...There is no need for a total lockdown as we will see a trend of declining cases in the near future. However, if there are large gatherings during the High Holidays, we may witness a new outbreak of the virus."