Coronavirus czar debuts ‘Shield of Israel’ strategic plan

“I expect all government ministers to back up this plan,” Netanyahu said. “I expect all Israeli citizens, without exception, to cooperate with it. Together, we will defeat coronavirus.”

Prof. Ronni Gamzu reveals his “Shield of Israel” strategic plan on July 28, 2020 (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prof. Ronni Gamzu reveals his “Shield of Israel” strategic plan on July 28, 2020
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Less than one week after being appointed the country’s new coronavirus commissioner, Prof. Ronni Gamzu revealed his “Shield of Israel” strategic plan to save the country from the novel coronavirus.
Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein participated in the unveiling event, Gamzu took center stage.
The Shield of Israel plan has three main arms: 1) a new contract will be established between the public and those managing the coronavirus crisis; 2) the IDF will take over the management of testing and contact tracing; 3) data will be consolidated and presented in a unified manner.
“We are in the midst of a plague that is still progressing, and at this point in time we need to take rapid steps,” Gamzu said. “It is possible that the hospitals will reach a breaking point. I want the contact rate to be less than one [person infecting another]. This is the only way we will start eradicating the pandemic with less burden on the hospitals. It can only be done together.”
It is time for a new contract between the citizens of Israel and those who are managing the coronavirus crisis, he said, adding: “We have seen a decline in confidence in recent days, and as such, the virus has spread. The new contract: The government does everything logically, quickly and confidently; the citizens obey and cooperate.”
Gamzu promised not to place “illogical” restrictions on the public and to reduce directives as much as possible.
“I am responsible,” he said.
With regards to “test, trace, isolate,” the methodology that experts believe is key to stopping the spread of the pandemic, Gamzu admitted that until now the Health Ministry has not done a sufficient job. As such, “the IDF will deal with this,” he said.
“The IDF’s involvement is very important because it is a system that can work quickly,” Gamzu said.
"Last week, we appointed, together, Prof. Ronni Gamzu as the national coronavirus project manager," Netanyahu said. "If one had to summarize in one word what is inherent in, and what stands at the foundation of, this plan, the word is 'together.'"
"I expect all cabinet ministers to back this plan," he continued. "I expect the citizens of Israel, all of them, without exception, to cooperate with it. Together we will defeat the coronavirus."
After the meeting, Gantz released a statement to the public: “An hour ago, in cooperation with the chief of staff, I approved the establishment of a coronavirus headquarters in Home Front Command. It will be at your disposal, Prof. Gamzu, for anything you need.”
“The IDF knows how to win wars,” he said. “It will also know how to win this battle.”
Earlier in the day, Gamzu met with the heads of local authorities and shared more about his plan, including that testing will be increased to 60,000 people per day within the next two months and ultimately up to 100,000 by winter. He said he wants to manage cities according to their rates of infection, designating them red, orange or green.
The greener a city is, the more power the mayors will have to make decisions about what stores and activities to open. Red cities would be managed by Home Front Command in cooperation with the local authority.
Shortly after sharing his plan, Gamzu told N12 he plans to open schools on September 1.
“The infection rate is lowering,” Gamzu said. “We are almost there.”
Some 2,057 people were diagnosed with coronavirus out of 28,224 who were screened on Monday, an infection rate of 7.4%, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday. Between midnight and press time, another 1,363 people tested positive.
There were 316 patients in serious condition, including 97 who were intubated. Eight people died Tuesday, bringing the country’s death toll to 486.