On Monday, a Health Ministry official has said that he believes it will be in the best interests of the country if the skies are closed down. The reason behind this suggestion was to prevent people, who are infected with other coronavirus variants from making their way into Israel.
Dr. Orly Greenfeld, the medical director of the national vaccine program of the Ministry, said in an interview that it is her advice to shut down the airport for a short period of time. In her opinion, it is also important right now to quarantine all those people who are coming back from abroad.
Her remarks came against the backdrop of the third wave of the coronavirus that is taking a heavy toll on the State of Israel. On Sunday, the country crossed a total of 4,000 deaths. Currently, there are 1,130 patients who are in critical condition, of which, 273 are on ventilators.
Moreover, the alarming and continual rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country are putting an unprecedented strain on the health system in the country.
According to research conducted by a couple of scientists employed at the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute, overcrowding has been causing quite a few deaths. In the first week of January alone, one out of three coronavirus related deaths can be attributed to the hospital not having enough resources to cater to the growing number of patients.
The team at Weizmann was led by Prof. Eran Segal, who compared the current trends with that of the second wave of the virus in Israel. He further concluded that the third wave has brought about an excess of about 25% of mortality.
As of now, Jerusalem is one of those cities that is struggling with increased morbidity and a high number of hospitalized patients. Some patients have also been put in hospice at the Herzog Medical Center, in order to relieve the extra burden on facilities in the central part of Israel, as well as hospitals. This medical center in question specializes in geriatrics.
The general manager of Herzog, Kobi Habib, addressed this situation and said that the medical center is experiencing exceptional workloads as well. However, he said that the staff has decided to step up and try to help relieve the burden on hospitals in the country.
On Monday, around 110 patients of the coronavirus were hospitalized at Herzog. 46 out of those were declared to be in a critical condition.
Due to the overcrowding in hospitals and the reproduction rate, which has not yet fallen below one, the coronavirus cabinet meeting to be held on Wednesday, was shifted to Tuesday. The day was changed in order to allow the government to quickly determine their next action plan to tackle the coronavirus crisis in the country.
In addition, health officials in the country are recommending that the lockdown be extended by at least another week. This was revealed by Prof. Nachman Ash, the coronavirus commissioner, on Sunday in a press briefing.