(February 27, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured Magen David Adom’s national operations center on Thursday along with other senior Israeli officials and ministers as the first Israeli outside of quarantine was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
“Today, I am announcing a dramatic step forward which is already being implemented and is to my knowledge, the first in the world,” said Netanyahu. “We are the pioneering the treatment and prevention of this virus. We ask anyone from any country in the world displaying symptoms of the virus to call MDA’s 101 Emergency Call Center, which has medical teams on staff will assess those who are symptomatic.”
“Need be, paramedics will be sent to their house to perform a test kit,” he said. “This is an innovative thing—one that can prevent the spread of the disease—and I ask for your cooperation with the citizens of Israel.”
Netanyahu was accompanied by Minister of Health Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, chairman of the National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat and the director-general of the Ministry of Health Moshe Bar Siman Tov.
The officials received a review from MDA director general Eli Bin about the joint call center for the coronavirus treatment, in addition to the protection measures taken by the teams that are dispatched to carry out the testing of the civilians who are in quarantine.
Bin said MDA opened the call center to give citizens the necessary information and guidelines, and to calm them. “We have already carried out over 400 samples from civilians who are in quarantine at home, and if necessary, we are prepared to treat them and evacuate them to the hospital,” he said.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Health Ministry said that an Israeli man who recently returned from a visit to Italy has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is the first diagnosed infection in the country outside of hospital quarantine, raising fears that he could have infected others.
As a result, the Health Ministry has ordered that any Israeli who has been in Italy in the past 14 days to quarantine themselves. El Al also announced a suspension of flights to Italy and Thailand.
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