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Israel: How the coronavirus ‘traffic light’ system will work

The Coronavirus Cabinet is expected to convene tomorrow (Monday) to approve the “traffic light” outline of Coronavirus Czar Prof. Roni Gamzu, which is due to begin operating from the first of September and transfers a large part of the responsibility for the treatment of morbidity from the state to local authorities.

Yediot Ahronot reported that the new plan divides the State of Israel into 250 local authorities. Each authority will receive a weighted score that will determine its color for a period of two weeks: green, yellow, orange or red. Every two weeks, the colors of the authorities will be updated on the basis of their results and the restrictions in them will be adjusted accordingly.

The color of each authority will be determined according to three parameters: the rate of new patients, the rate of positive tests and the rate of the increase in morbidity – whether increased or decreased. The model encourages local authorities to hold more tests, because it allows for an improvement in the ranking only if there has not been a significant decrease in the number of tests carried out.

Prof Gamzu explained that “the weightiest measure is the rate of positive tests, in order to prevent a situation where people are not tested enough and produce latent morbidity. A mayor who wants to improve his city’s rating will have to make sure his residents are tested even for mild symptoms.”

According to the report in Yedioth Ahronot, in accordance with the score and color given to each city, the activities that will be allowed to be conducted in it will be adjusted. Some of the activities – education, transportation, jobs and mass sporting and cultural events – will still be approved at the national level. The local routine of life will be determined according to the color of the city. Activities in houses of prayer, restaurants, fairs, cultural events inside buildings, mikvahs, hotels, markets, cafes, events and swimming in pools will be approved according to the city’s rating.

Each authority will be given measures to help it reduce morbidity. “Close contact with the Home Front Command will allow for epidemiological tests and investigations and the transfer of patients to hotels,” said Gamzu. “In the event of an outbreak, the mayor will arrange for drive-in for coronavirus tests to be sent to laboratories managed by the Home Front Command. In this way, it will be possible to deal with a specific area where the disease has been recorded.

”The process of cutting off the chains of infection will be conducted nationally by the Home Front Command, but some of the investigations will be conducted by the authorities themselves. Cities that want to take matters into their own hands will have to conduct enforcement in their territory, working closely with the police chief and increasing enforcement patrols. The municipal inspectors will have to deal less with the distribution of parking tickets and more with the enforcement of [coronavirus restrictions],” Gamzu said.

Residents will be permitted to report on violations of the guidelines.

“As soon as you see the revelry going on next to you, pick up the phone to the municipal hotline and update them,” Gamzu explained. “Whoever sees such behavior and does not report is participating in the harm being done to his neighborhood.”

A new app will signal to each resident what color rating the city he is in has received as soon as he enters the city.

“State restrictions have so far been set according to the average morbidity in the whole country,” explains Prof. Gamzu. “Red cities will operate under very restrictive conditions. This is the opportunity for all cities to take matters into their own hands.”

Source: Arutz Sheva