Program to reduce infection rate to be implemented in all red cities

Health Ministry director-general said on Friday that preschoolers might be able to go back to school in two weeks • 78% of all Covid-19 patients in Israel have recovered

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks to IDF Home Front Command soldiers, Ashdod. September 14, 2020 (photo credit: FLASH90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks to IDF Home Front Command soldiers, Ashdod. September 14, 2020
(photo credit: FLASH90)
The Defense Ministry, in coordination with the Finance Ministry, has decided on an agreement to implement the "Personnel Program" in all red and orange cities in the coming weeks to help reduce coronavirus morbidity rates.
According to a review presented by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the coronavirus morbidity rate has decreased significantly in areas in which the program has already been running.
"We must give local authorities the tools to work," said Gantz in a statement.
"In every locality that we ran this program, we saw results. The importance of the program, which enables accompaniment of isolated patients and the provision of food, as well as information adapted to the nature of the area being dispersed to the public, will become more valid upon the opening of the closure," he said.
On Thursday, the IDF and Home Front Command ran the program in 150 cities throughout the country, together with local authorities, marking an increase of 11 cities. 
Meanwhile, efforts have been stepped up in a number of cities, including Bnei Brak, where NIS 1 million is set to be invested in dispersing information and proactive activities to protect adults, individuals and families of patients in isolation.
The Health Ministry announced on Friday that 3,693 new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed in the past day, out of 48,806 tests that were conducted, marking the lowest rate of infection documented since September - a positive return of only 8%.
The death toll stands at 1,879. 
In addition, there are 59,578 coronavirus patients in Israel, 850 of whom are in critical condition, including 233 who are intubated. There have been 286,646 patients diagnosed in Israel since the beginning of the pandemic, with 225,189 (78%) having recovered.
Later on Friday, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy gave an interview on channel 13 and said that preschoolers might be able to go back to school in two more weeks.
Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu told N12 also on Friday evening that the lockdown restrictions could start easing up as soon as next week. 
"I'm in favor of easing up the restrictions," Gamzu said. "It will probably happen at the end of next week or the beginning of the following week."
Gazu also estimated that in the coming week, the number of those who test positive for coronavirus may well drop below 2,000 a day, Israeli media reported. 

Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.