Israel during coronavirus pandemic COVID – 19

March 11 this year The World Health Organization has announced a pandemic of the new coronavirus, alerting about growing infections worldwide. At the moment, just over a month after providing this information, over 2 million people have been registered worldwide as infected with the virus. The whole world was faced with the fact of a pandemic that affected all areas of the lives of people in the world. Many countries began to introduce new restrictions in connection with the spreading danger.

A major undertaking for the governments of all countries is appropriate and effective response to the situation, protecting citizens while maintaining their rights and freedoms. Due to the authorities’ interference, they can easily be violated by inadvertently introducing rules, which is why sensible and thoughtful strategic action is needed. Coronavirus also has a huge impact on the global economy and has shaken markets around the world. It negatively affected bond yields, and stock prices dropped drastically in many cases. Enterprises, regardless of their size and scope of activity, were threatened.

The Polish government decided to introduce the so-called Anti-crisis shield. It aims to stabilize the Polish economy. It should also give an investment impulse. According to the information provided, the value of support offered under the shield will amount to PLN 212 billion – that’s nearly 10% of GDP. For comparison, the Israeli government has also put forward a program to help the economy deal with coronavirus. The Israeli Ministry of Finance plans to spend NIS 80 billion (USD 22.3 billion), which is 6% of GDP. Additional expenditure will cause a sharp increase in the budget deficit from around 3.5% of GDP to 10% and increase the debt to GDP ratio to 75% from around 60%.

The first case of coronavirus in Israel was confirmed on February 21, 2020. This was due to a positive test for the virus in the body of a woman who had returned from a trip on the Diamond Princess ship.

In Israel, which is the driving force of innovative technologies, people are involved in the development and adaptation of technologies to reduce the burden of a pandemic. The economic and logistical limitations of current evaluation and testing methods have motivated many Israelis to find better solutions. From the very beginning, increasing the number of tests was a goal that was gradually achieved, which essentially helped to raise awareness about the state of health of the population and the speed and scale of the spread of the virus.

To help minimize the spread of the threat, the HaMagen phone application (from Hebrew “shield”) was also activated. It tracks your whereabouts and then compares them with the known movements of people diagnosed with COVID-19 to see if their paths have crossed in the last 14 days. In addition to Hebrew, the application is available in English, French, Arabic and Russian. Regardless of the application, information about being in the vicinity of the person who was tested positive for coronavirus is sent by a message to the person’s phone. Then this person is obliged to perform a coronavirus test. From the beginning of the fight against the pandemic, the civil intelligence of Mossad and the security services of Szin Bet had a huge role. This applies to both the movement of the population and the acquisition of medical or protective equipment.

Israeli airlines EL Al have suspended all commercial flights. However, they still cooperate with the foreign and defense ministries to help Israelis left abroad.

Advanced research and development into a coronavirus vaccine, as well as antibody-based COVID-19 plasma therapy from patients who have recovered are also underway.

Israel is at the top of the list of countries with a high safety rating for COVID-19, and is also in the top ten countries with the best treatment effectiveness. It currently has a relatively small number of people who have died of coronavirus. At almost 13 thousand infected people, 148 people died. Unfortunately, the number is increasing every day, but in Sweden, with a similar number of infected, the number of deaths at the moment is over 1,300. As of April 17, Israel performed 187 250 tests and Poland 169 071. However, these numbers are different if we use the scale due to the fact that the population in Poland is over 38 million, while in Israel it is about 9 million.

In the background also exists, temporarily interrupted by a pandemic, the problem of elections in Israel and the formation of a government. In September 2019, the second parliamentary elections were held. Unfortunately, due to the fact that both Biniamin Netanyahu of the Likud party and Beni Gantz failed to form a new government, on December 12 the Knesset voted for self-dissolution. New parliamentary elections were held on March 2, 2020 with precautionary measures due to the first case of coronavirus discovered in Israel 1.5 weeks earlier. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin informed Benny Gantz on 16th April that he had delegated the task of forming a ruling coalition to the Knesset after leader Kahol Lavan and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not agree on a government of unity. As a result, both rivals agreed to form a government of national unity. The power-sharing agreement states that Netanyahu will remain a Prime Minister for 18 months before giving Gantz, the former head of the army, the remaining period of this three-year term.

Let’s hope that the world situation will soon change for the better. Let us be of good cheer and watch out for our own health and the health of those around us.

Lawyer Sandra Błaszczak