Israel starts blood testing to get corona ‘snapshot’ of population

Testing will start with 75,000 people to give Israel a better picture of the situation.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

On Monday, Israel began its broad serological survey to gain an insight into the spread of the coronavirus among the population.

About 75,000 tests are expected to be taken by 480 clinics operated by Israeli health providers around the country.

Serological (antibody) tests detect the presence of antibodies produced in the body against disease. A previous serological test conducted by Tel Aviv University found that 2.5 percent of the population had been exposed to the virus.

Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein said earlier this month, when the plan was unveiled, “Serological tests are an important tool that will provide us with better intelligence on coronavirus epicenters in Israel. That way, we could be better prepared to handle another wave of coronavirus outbreak should it occur, God forbid.

“I thank the HMOs for joining the national task-force, and I am certain that they will carry out these tests as efficiently, given that they already have much experience with other tests,” he said.

Israel is facing a resurgence of the virus with the number of new cases each day spiking well past 300 for the last week. In the last 24 hours, 492 new cases were reported. The total number of dead is 319.

New reports of recovered patients say that some suffer from long-term damage, even in cases of those who only showed minor symptoms.

Israel’s government is currently struggling with how to respond to the return of the disease, which it effectively fought off in the first round. In a meeting of the corona cabinet on Sunday, ministers were divided on what measures to take. Minister of Health Edelstein called for tightening restrictions while others warned of the damage to the economy.

The corona cabinet will meet again Monday as no decision was reached. Reports say it will likely reduce the size of groups allowed to meet in public from 250 to 50. It may also impose restrictions on the size of prayer services.