The Ambulance Union in Israel has asked the Health Ministry for protective gear for their ambulance teams due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the union said in a statement.As of Wednesday, 433 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Israel. As the virus is spreading across the country, health workers and ambulance staffs are on the front line, sometimes putting their own health and security at risk.
To respond to their security concerns, the Israeli government has provided Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances with protective gear for ambulance staffs. However, out of the 1,200 ambulances in Israel, half belong to MDA and the other half to nonprofits and other ambulance companies that are part of the Ambulance Union in Israel. While most ambulances in the center of the country belong to MDA, in the periphery, 60% of ambulances belong to other organizations.
As such, the Ambulance Union in Israel and the Civil Forum for Advancing Health in the Galilee are asking for protective gear for all ambulance teams, not just MDA teams, and have contacted the Health Ministry on the topic.
The union argued in a statement that the government's decision to exclusively assist MDA teams in purchasing kits against the coronavirus, endangers other ambulances and their patients, most particularly the elderly living in the periphery.
They also add that the cost of one kit is about NIS 150 and NIS 900,000 would be needed to equip all ambulances. The money would dramatically improve the protection of both patients and caregivers from the coronavirus.
MK Jaber Asakala said that he contacted the Health Ministry, demanding the provision of protective kits for all ambulances in Israel. "There is no reason that the ambulance teams in the periphery, most of which belong to non-MDA ambulances, are at risk and will be under unreasonable risk," he said.