In hopes of preventing the quick spreading contagious coronavirus, the Ministry of Health announced that all new arrivals landing in Israel will be required to self-quarantine, adding to the over 80,000 people already in their midst of the 14-day isolation period. The Health Ministry is taking the pandemic seriously, and taking heavy precautions to ensure the safety and health of Israel’s citizens.
As of Wednesday morning, about 76 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Israel. Events with 100 or more people have been banned, and over 10,000 foreign visitors have willingly left the country to return to their homes.
For the Israelis stuck in isolation, the police force and the Health Ministry are now working together to ensure individual cooperation. With quarantine comes a slew of struggles, and some Israelis are choosing to disobey the self-quarantine regulations. While remaining isolated inside is a struggle in itself, the strict precautions Israel has set in place are for the protection of public health. It is rumored that the fine for not observing quarantine can be up to seven years in prison.
Other citizens seem to be coping just fine, and have used the enforced isolation to get creative communally. A new community has sprouted, called Creatively Quarantined, which is a social media account inspiring people to get creative while in quarantine. Started by two women who came back from Italy, Joyce Franco and Stephanie Graber are hoping to invite those in quarantine to “redefine the time and space we’ve been given” and to make an opportunity to take on “goals, projects, challenges or creative initiatives you’ve been putting off or simply never had the time for”.
Even with creative coping mechanisms, the effects of coronavirus can be felt in every street and business, now operating with a melancholy quiet.
Israel is preparing for the worst, yet in a dose of good news, Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan was named the ninth best hospital in the world, moving one place up in rank from 2019. Home to the ARC Innovation Center, Sheba Medical Center is steadily working to create and curate technologies that can support managing the coronavirus on a global scale. The last week of February saw them host a hackathon, where 25 participants signed up in 24 hours, which saw solutions such as robotics for managing patient care, medical masks, and a vaccine in the works. The hospital is preparing for further cases of coronavirus, though hopefully, the end of the pandemic is near.