The September-October lockdown has led to a fall in traffic on Israel's roads although not to the same extent as happened during the March-April lockdown, according to data presented by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers to the coronavirus cabinet today. The researchers found that the amount of traffic on the roads at weekends and holidays in the current lockdown is similar to March-April, while midweek there is 30% more traffic on the roads than there was in March-April, but this is still well below normal. From this data the researchers conclude that the lockdown is being observed.
The mobility of the public is currently lower than in July when there were some restrictions on certain activities. Nevertheless, in July the infection rate was low. Therefore, the researchers are reluctant to see a direct connection between mobility and morbidity. There are other difference between the two lockdowns that are not reflected in traffic on the highways such as large gatherings and meetings in enclosed spaces. Consequently the researchers recommend tracking the infection rate to see whether the lockdown will lead to a moderation in the number of infections and how quickly.
The researchers stress that the most important figure to follow in the coming days is the number of patients who are seriously ill with Covid-19 because the number of infections is heavily influenced by the timing of the holidays. Meanwhile, the researchers say than in the relatively short time since the lockdown was imposed, the infection rate has behaved as they had predicted with some positive impact.
The researchers estimate that in the coming few weeks, after a period in which there has been a daily rise in the number of serious ill patients, the rate should now slow. It may continue to rise but at a much slower pace.
The researchers speculate that the relatively low number of fatalities in Israel until recent weeks has been superseded by a higher rate as the health system struggles to maintain the high level of treatment previously given when the number of cases was much smaller.
In studying data over the past seven months, the researchers feel that Israel can return with relative safety to reopening stores, kindergartens in small groups and partial reopening of the schools (children under 10). But it is too nearly to fully reopen schools, beaches and wedding halls.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 5, 2020
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