According to Channel 12 News, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the ministers with what he called the Health Ministry’s “nightmare scenario,” in which as many as a million Israelis could be infected with the life-threatening coronavirus by the end of next month.
During the eight-hour meeting, Netanyahu further warned that as many as 10,000 Israelis could die from COVID-19.
A government official who was present at the meeting told Channel 12 News that there was a sense among cabinet ministers that the public still hasn’t grasped the full gravity of the situation.
‘Doctors must take part in decision-making process’
Dozens of senior physicians who head departments and units in Israel’s hospitals issued a public demand on Monday to replace Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov with a medical doctor.
“We must speak up,” the doctors wrote in an open letter addressed to “Israel’s leaders.”
“The public didn’t protest the fact that the healthcare system was being driven to the ground, and the day of reckoning has come,” the doctors wrote.
“Decisions are being made that have nothing to do with the clinical reality on the ground and vital decisions are being held up. The [healthcare] system’s leadership has failed in setting criteria for coronavirus testing. Many medical personnel were sent into ‘battle’ without the proper weapons.
“Unfortunately, the other shoe still hasn’t dropped. Medical staff are still only insufficiently protected and in many places, protection doesn’t exist at all. This endangers our ability to win this battle,” the letter continued.
The doctors went on to demand that a medical professional serve as head of Israel’s healthcare system.
The director of the Health Ministry must be “a doctor with clinical understanding and who is familiar with medical treatment, and under whom a team of professionals – which includes senior clinicians – will act to put together recommendations that are not based on a single person’s opinion. Clinicians and field workers must urgently be integrated into the upper echelon that makes recommendations and policy.”
The doctors also demanded that doctors take part in the system leading the fight against coronavirus and insisted that “safety of the medical staff be made a priority.”