Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu visited Julis, a Druze village and local council in the Northern District of Israel, on Saturday and addressed the importance of allowing local authorities to lead in the battle against coronavirus.
“Authorities need to receive budget, resources, authority, help and understanding,” Gamzu said. “One of the most important things is to make the government understand that local authorities can manage their coronavirus response.”
Last week, some 200 mayors participated in the online meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the National Security Council and the public security minister. During that meeting, it was decided that Haim Bibas, head of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, will attend coronavirus cabinet meetings.
Gamzu’s traffic light program, which is supposed to be the final stage of any exit strategy, heavily relies on the work of municipalities.
Gamzu was hosted in Julis by Shaykh Mowafaq Tarīf, who reviewed the steps the community has taken to stop gatherings, such as large weddings and local annual celebrations, to help reduce infection. He said he had instructed that events not take place in people’s homes but rather in event halls and according to Health Ministry regulations.
At the end of the visit, Gamzu stressed the importance of being screened for coronavirus and called on the Druze leaders to encourage community members to get tested.
In an interview with N12 over the weekend, Gamzu had said that there is a decline in morbidity and that the country could see a first stage of reduced restrictions as early as this week.
“I am definitely in favor of reducing restrictions,” Gamzu told the news station. “We think there will be some specific areas in which the lockdown will have to continue” in its current format.