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Preparations Being Made to Increase Coronavirus Testing Efforts

Nov 3, 2020

Home Front Command and the Health Ministry in Israel are making preparations and increasing their efforts in encouraging the citizens of the country to get tested for the Covid-19 virus. Though the number of people getting tested has been low in the past few days, the positivity ratio has risen significantly. 

Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the Coronavirus Commissioner, warned the public and the coronavirus cabinet on Monday. He stated that the R number has increased and is now above 0.8. He also added that in some Arab-Israeli communities, the R lies well above 1 as of now. 

Gamzu talked about how people do not want to get tested and that it is one of the biggest challenges for the state. He went on to say that the war with corona is still ongoing. The commissioner encouraged people to get tested because they are free. He expressed his confusion at the unwillingness of the public to get their tests done. 

The R number can be explained as the average number of people who will be infected if a coronavirus positive patient comes into contact with them. If it lies below 1, then it can be concluded that one infected person will not infect someone else. It also indicates a decline in the outbreak.

However, if the R number exceeds 1, then the coronavirus positive patient will infect one or more people around him. Thus, it is a sign that the outbreak is spreading. 

The commissioner explained how the increasing tests and a proactive public response will help bring down the R number. He talked about a greater and extensive enforcement of the coronavirus guidelines as well. 

Sharon Alroy-Preiss, the head of Public Health Services, also talked about how the Health Ministry is thinking about enacting a more proactive and broader testing policy. 

The ministry had also launched a social media campaign on Monday. They joined hands with Maccabi, Clait, Meuhedet HMOs, and Leumit to urge Israelis to come forward and get tests for the virus. They were encouraged to undergo tests even if they were not experiencing or exhibiting any symptoms at all. 

The Health Ministry developed a new Israeli PCR testing system, which will significantly reduce the time taken for the test results of the virus. People will now receive positive or negative results within four hours of getting tested, four hours lesser than the time they originally had to wait. The announcement of the testing system was made by the Health Ministry itself on Monday. 

The new system is run by robots. It will enter service in the coming weeks in the hospitals and labs all over the country. 

Israel has also made countless efforts to design and help develop ways to rapidly test people for coronavirus. This includes a gargle test, which was created by Virusight Diagnostic. Another test, also known as the 30-second Covid-19 test is being jointly developed by Israel and India. 

Just last week, the Health Ministry launched a campaign titled “If there’s a doubt, there’s no doubt – just get tested” to encourage people to undergo coronavirus tests.

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