Four conditions for ending lockdown

Ronni Gamzu

Souraski Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu says Israel should end the lockdown providing four conditions can be met in the battle against Covid-19.

Souraski Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu says that the Israeli government should end the lockdown providing that four rules can be observed in the battle against Covid-19.

The health system is ready to take in many more patients needing respirators and so it's possible to start easing the lockdown," the head of the Tel Aviv hospital says. "If we ease up a little, we will raise the number of people needing ventilators and fatalities but the system won't reach its full capacity."

Gamzu was recently placed in charge of the Ministry of Health's efforts to combat the virus in homes for the elderly. He said, "The first condition is that we will continue 'brainwashing' the public on the measures that will prevent infection, such as washing hands and masks, keeping a distance of two meters at work, and staying away from gatherings and contact with populations at risk."

"The second condition is random testing, locating those suffering from the virus, and isolating those ill and whoever has come in contact with them, as swiftly as possible. We need to reach a situation in which we can conduct rapid epidemiological investigations on 200-300 people per day."

"The third condition is reorganizing all the country's institutions where there is particular potential for infection. For example, if we are talking about public transport, where people crowd together, it must be run differently."

"And the fourth condition is to protect vulnerable populations. It is important to go into details on this matter." This is exactly what Gamzu is doing in his position in charge of homes for the elderly.

The latest Ministry of Health figures show that 12,591 people in Israel have tested positive for Covid-19, up 90 from yesterday evening. 174 people are in severe condition with 140 of them on ventilators. There have been 141 fatalities in Israel and 2,624 patients have officially recovered.

If the four rules cited by Gamzu are adhere to then he says, "We can suffer 100 or 200 infections per day. That won't even be close to causing the health service to collapse. It's like dancing with the virus, you have to maintain a level that you can cope with." It should be pointed out that over the past few days there have been an average of 400 infections per day.

Gamzu stresses. "If you don't have those four capabilities, then don't open up. Wait another week and be certain that you have the tools, and then open up."

Which country do you see as an example?

"Austria. They are about a week ahead of us in terms of the progress of the virus. They have a similar size population to us with 6,000 testing positive and a fatality rate a little higher than ours." This week Austria announced that it is easing its lockdown while threatening to brake hard if the number of infections begins to rise again.

How many tests should we be conducting to know whether the situation is under control?

"As many as possible. 30,000 tests isa a very high number in relation to the size of the population, but it's an excellent number, and it's possible. We are one of the countries carrying out the most testing but it still could be more."

Regarding any treatments under development in his hospital which could be effective against Covid-19, Gamzu said, "We used chloroquine in the hospital and we did not get the impression that it is effective, and that is also the opinion of scientists today. I am currently following developments closely and I don't see any special news about a treatment in development."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on April 16, 2020

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