Naftali Bennett’s new 8-step plan to eradicate COVID-19 in seven weeks

“We have no choice but to reach zero contagion,” Bennett said. “If we do not do so soon, we will reach that level only after paying a heavy price.”

NAFTALI BENNETT stands outside Lod City Hall in July 2020. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
NAFTALI BENNETT stands outside Lod City Hall in July 2020.
Yamina head Naftali Bennett has once again released a plan to help combat COVID-19. This time, according to the “A coronavirus-free Israel” plan he shared Friday morning, the virus could be eradicated from the State of Israel through eight steps in about seven weeks.  

“If we only wanted to, in about 10 days, many citizens of Israel could already be living in clean areas and would be able to return to their routines,” he said. “In about six more weeks, the whole country would be green.”
Bennett said that “it no longer requires lengthy and difficult lockdowns like the one we had on Passover. It only requires proper and wise management and a few simple steps.”
Here are Bennett’s eight steps:
1 – Transparency and communication: All government agencies and the public must understand the plan and the public must see it as a great opportunity.
2 – Border control: Anyone entering the country must present a negative coronavirus test taken within the last 72 hours. On arrival, travelers must enter isolation in a state-run and monitored hotel, with few exceptions. Land crossings, from which Palestinans and others can enter Israel should also be monitored.
3 – Differentiated model: Israel should be divided into zones by region and travel between red regions and green regions would be minimized. According to Bennett, a differentiated model enables local authorities to manage their communities with targeted messages and tools much faster than when handled on a national level.
4 – Green area prioritization: The country will focus on creating more and larger “green bubbles.”
“We are now in a full, national lockdown due to inadequacies in the health system,” Bennett said. “We will not be able to open the education system with confidence before the British variant is eradicated because there is no approved vaccine for children under 16 and pregnant women. Until now, the State of Israel has given special treatment to red areas. This is a critical mistake.”
According to Bennett’s model, the greenest areas should be turned “completely green” and they should be protected from the entry of sick people.
5 – Mass testing: Using a coronavirus testing system based on the pooling method, taking samples of several individuals at once, mass testing should be done at a rate of around 500,000 people per day. He said there is no need to check everyone, rather tests should be offered at the entrance to office buildings, gas stations, shopping malls and more. Those who test positive will be isolated. Those who test positive will be isolated.
There will be no fines for violating isolation to incentivize people to be tested.
6 – Protection: Free movement between green areas will be permitted and heads of local authorities will be given funds to help protect their regions. The funds could be used, for example, to employ substitute teachers in area preschools if staff would otherwise have to come to work from red cities.
7 – A completely normal life under a coronavirus routine: There would be no more national lockdowns and people would be able to enjoy culture, sports and other events again in green areas. The education system would be open, as well as commerce, and larger events could take place once the country at-large is green.
Even under the coronavirus routine, the country will keep Ben-Gurion Airport under tight surveillance, checking anyone who enters the country. There would also be extensive fines for anyone who comes in and does not adhere to the isolation requirements.
At the same time, Israel will proactively monitor its sewage for COVID-19 traces in an effort to detect outbreaks before they happen.
8 – Genetic sequencing: Israel will establish a powerful Israeli system for genetic sequencing so that it can quickly identify mutations and work against them.
“Because of the connection between the broad vaccination campaign and the high level of morbidity in Israel at the moment, it is not inconceivable that an Israeli mutation that can bypass the vaccine could be created here,” Bennett wrote. “We must be prepared for that.”
Bennett said he believed that Israel could achieve this because it has been accomplished in other, similar countries around the world, such as Australia, Taiwan, Iceland.
“WE HAVE no choice but to reach zero contagion,” he wrote in a presentation disseminated to the press. “If we do not do so soon, we will reach that level only after paying a heavy price.”
Bennett said that the vaccination campaign is crucial for protecting Israel’s highest-risk population and that “it is advancing at an inspiring pace.” However, he said that vaccination will not eradicate coronavirus for a number of reasons.
“The vaccines are important,” Bennett said, “but as far as we know now, they are not enough.”
This is not the first time that Bennett offered plans to help combat the virus.
Back in March, when Bennett was still defense minister, he presented a plan to the prime minister, the head of the National Security Council and the Health Ministry with similar ideas. In July, he offered “15 emergency measures to save Israel from coronavirus.” Over the summer, he published a book entitled, “How to beat coronavirus.” And, in September, he shared 20 steps “that I would have already taken tonight if I were prime minister” to tackle the virus.
So far, only a few aspects of Bennett’s plans have been implemented by the government.