IDF: Israelis not cooperating with corona investigations

Israel’s Coronavirus Command Center’s commanders stressed that a major obstacle in cutting the chain of infection is the lack of cooperation on the part of the public.

By TPS

Members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee for Policy and Strategy visited on Sunday the IDF’s “Alon” Coronavirus (COVID-19) Command Center of the taskforce on cutting the chain of infection.

The center is located at the IDF Home Front Command headquarters near the city of Ramla.

OC Home Front Command Brig.-Gen. Itzik Bar and Coronavirus Command Center head Brig.-Gen. Nissan Davidi presented the center’s missions and capabilities to members of the subcommittee who took part in the tour.

More than 60,000 corona tests can be processed in 42 laboratories each day, and the Coronavirus Command Center has 2,200 epidemiological investigators at its disposal, with 600 more expected to be added in the coming weeks, the MKs were told.

The center’s goal is that no more than 30 hours will pass from the time a person has been found positive for coronavirus to the time all those who have come in contact with that person have been tested themselves.

The process is currently completed within 30-40 hours.

The Coronavirus Command Center’s commanders stressed that a major obstacle in cutting the chain of infection is the lack of cooperation on the part of the public.

Since August, they said, 30% of corona patients who underwent an epidemiological investigation reported that they did not come in contact with anyone. Some 48% of the people who came in contact with a corona patient and were traced through an epidemiological investigation, and some 90% of those who came in contact with a corona patient and were traced by the Israel Security Service’s cellphone surveillance, did not report on the designated form that they had entered isolation.

During epidemiological investigations conducted on Saturday, corona patients said they came in contact with only 2.9 people on average since testing positive for corona. In the past week, 41,000 people who came in contact with a corona patient were asked to be tested for the virus, but only 13,600, 33%, were actually tested. Some claimed they were tested privately through their HMOs, and the center does not have access to data that can verify this.

Committee Chairman MK Zvi Hauser summed up the visit and said it is evident that Israel’s ability to deal with the virus has improved significantly, and that the Coronavirus Command Center will create a model that Israel will be able to export to many other countries.

He said that the anticipation that epidemiological investigations will be concluded faster means that a larger number of citizens who have come in contact with verified corona patients will have to enter quarantine. Therefore, Hauser said, the Home Front Command must work to shorten the quarantine period from 12 to 10 days

The data relating to the public’s lack of cooperation “are significant and unfortunate,” Hauser stated, adding that the Coronavirus Command Center should develop the capability to carry out at least 130,000 tests a day so that every individual who is tested before entering quarantine will be able to get tested again to shorten the period in isolation.