Minister Urges Quarantine be Shortened to 5 Days

Shaarei Tzedek hospital team member wearing safety gear in the coronavirus ward, in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As the quarantine period for the asymptomatic shortens as of midnight from 10 days to 7, Economy Minister Orna Barbivai said on Wednesday evening that she wants it shortened even further, to 5 days.

The logic of her position was unassailable: “What the CDC recommended for America the great is right for us as well,” she tweeted a few hours before the 5-day quarantine goes into effect.

The economic considerations that lie behind the U.S. policy are true for Barbivai as well. Only those who constitute a significant risk should be instructed to stay home; otherwise the country goes into effective lockdown.

For example, Israel Railways announced reduced service on several train lines Thursday due to rising morbidity among its employees.

The railway operator promised to provide transportation to riders at stations where service is interrupted.

More worryingly, as many as 5,657 of Israel’s health staff were in quarantine as of Wednesday morning, 43,868 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours.

Among hospital personnel in isolation were 767 doctors and 1,504 nurses. On Tuesday, around 3,800 staff were in quarantine, including 542 doctors and 1,000 nurses.

According to The Jerusalem Post, “the shortage of critical personnel is one of the reasons behind the Health Ministry’s decision” to abbreviate the quarantine period.

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