Gamzu Warns of Untested Carriers

Clalit Health care workers take test samples of Israelis at a drive-through site to collect samples for coronavirus testing in Lod, on October 16, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Amid reports of dramatically lower infection levels and a gradual lockdown exit, outgoing coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu warned on Tuesday that the true picture is less encouraging.

Gamzu estimates that for every confirmed virus patient there are another 10 people who suspect they may be infected but are not going to get tested.

“If there were 600 verified [cases] this morning, I estimate there are 10 times as many who do not come to be tested even when they have an inner suspicion,” Gamzu said, according to the Times of Israel.

“They not only endanger themselves and their families, but the whole disease-reducing operation, and prevent us from lowering the infection coefficient,” he said during a tour with Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the army’s Alon virus contact tracing headquarters.

Gantz praised the IDF for having “one of the best virus infection chain severance systems in the world.”

He said that in the short time since the Alon unit has been operational, since August, it has built up the capacity to investigate 4,000 cases a day.

But, he said, echoing Gamzu, the system will only work if the public cooperates.

Gantz said he has asked that local authorities be furnished with information on those who return from abroad so they follow up on quarantine cases. The defense minister said he also intends to expand the lockdowns on “red cities” that have high infection rates.

“That way we will be able to act in the infection hotspots on the one hand and on the other further open the other places,” he said.

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