Israel is starting her Corona exit strategy – and the end is in sight!
People are asking me, “How did Little Israel get it together in just 6 weeks?” and “How did they flatten the curve so fast?”
I’ve compiled a short list, and summarized the highlights here:
- Quarantine requirements started very early and were taken seriously.
As early as February people arriving to Israel from Italy were directed into 14 day isolation. Soon afterwards, all incoming flights had the same directive, and people adhered to these rules.
- Government tracking. Early on, the Ministry of Health set up an online form for all isolated people, which included infected persons and also travelers who had been abroad. This data led to several apps that were developed for tracking infected people. Individuals were contacted and directed into isolation.
- Emergency Medics kept the hospitals clear; The emergency rescue systems, Magen David Adom and Rescuers Without Borders, working in full coordination, responded to all calls with speed and professionalism. Nobody went to the hospital on his own. All symptomatic people called 101 and waited for a medic to arrive, survey symptoms, administer the Covid-19 test, etc. This allowed the hospitals to work effectively, treating patients. There was no overcrowding and no shortage of equipment or staff.
- Testing Centers were built, which led to early detection – The Ministry of Health built mobile testing centers so people could pull up in their cars, get swabbed, and get results quickly. All this was done in early days of the virus. Early detection sent thousands of citizens into quarantine, limiting the spread of the virus.
- The IDF and other volunteers delivered food – Our young soldiers took part in many “unconventional” tasks from building hospitals in underground parking lots, to delivering food to homebound families in Haredi neighborhoods. Other organizations and private businesses, volunteered as well, delivering games, gifts of encouragement to hospital staff, and more. We had our own “Bravo” campaign and donated cosmetics to the nurses, food cards to the medical staff, and more to keep up morale. Neighborhoods with high infection rates were locked up and soldiers delivered food and medicine, while paying special attention to the elderly who were often living alone.
- Our airlines brought home stranded Israelis from abroad. As Corona hit various countries, flights were cancelled worldwide. Our Israeli airlines El-Al and Israir brought Israelis home at no charge, from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Italy and Spain and more places at no charge. These were “rescue missions”. Upon arrival the travelers went into 14-day quarantine. This was a tremendous effort that brought pride to Israel and gave moral support to the entire country. The round trip flight to Peru was a record-breaking 44 hours long.
7. Hotels for quarantine – the Government turned hotels into quarantine centers. Passengers arriving to Ben-Gurion Airport were transported directly to these hotels where they stayed for 14 days with food, entirely free of charge.
8. Ventilators – The innovators behind the Iron Dome converted their factory to a ventilator manufacturing center. Thus, Israel did not suffer a shortage of this life-saving equipment, and was able to produce more.
9. Keeping the rules – Israelis had strict rules to follow. Malls and schools closed; no crowds allowed; No praying in a group. Everyone had to stay 2 meters apart and within 100 meters of home. No guests for Passover seder! This was the toughest for some, who had never been alone before on this special night. What did we do under these orders? We sang from our sidewalks, from our balconies and porches. Communities came together, even though physically apart.
10. Our Leaders – our Prime Minister, led us through this Corona crisis with strength and heart. Almost every night he spoke directly to us. People eagerly anticipated Bibi’s talks, where he explained the science, the statistics, what everything meant. He encouraged us to be strong, to care for our elders, calling them “grandma and grandpa” and making it personal. He did not use fear, he used love. This worked.
Now, we are on our way out of this crisis. Keeping safe distances, wearing our masks and washing our hands. Thank you for your continued support! To help our medics continue their valuable work, click here: https://www.hatzalah.org.il/donate