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Monday, August 15, 2022

Israel to infuse NIS 2.5 billion into health system to combat COVID

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced plans to immediately infuse 2.5 billion shekels into the health system.

“We are preparing for a significant increase in the number of severe patients,” the prime minister said. “Our goal is to double the capacity of the healthcare system.”

He said that the Delta variant is “sweeping the world” and that Israel is “waging a determined campaign to fight it – a campaign for health, but also for the economy. That is why we have decided to give a ‘booster’ to the health system.

“Every serious patient hurts us,” Bennett continued. “Every family that loses someone due to coronavirus causes us pain. But every business owner who loses his world also hurts us.”

Specifically, the money will be used to fund some 770 new hospital beds, 2,000 new positions – doctors, nurses and paramedical staff – and 3,000 students who will be trained in the healthcare field.

In addition, geriatric hospitals will receive 1,000 new beds and hundreds more staff.

Finally, another 1,400 beds will be added to the home hospitalization network in collaboration with the HMOs.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz stressed that these new positions are not temporary but will stay in the system in perpetuity. But speaking ahead of the evening coronavirus cabinet meeting, he added that “in addition to the green pass, restrictions are also needed on large gatherings to prevent mass infection.”

The meeting was attended by several hospital heads, including the country’s first coronavirus commissioner Prof. Roni Gamzu, who heads Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, head of Sheba Medical Center.

Kreis noted that a third booster is also being considered for medical workers, who were inoculated at the start of the country’s campaign in December 2020 and whose antibodies have been found to be waning.

“We ask and hope that tomorrow we will receive a positive answer – to vaccinate the health system workers with a full dose,” Kreiss said.  

“We are turning every stone to succeed in this wave without restrictions that will bring mass destruction to the economy of Israel,” Bennett added. “This booster for the health system is a milestone on this front.”

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