Frequently Asked Questions - Corona


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I wear mask that covers the nose and mouth?

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is spread from person to person by the spray of droplets while they are speaking, coughing, or sneezing. Facemasks covering the nose and mouth prevent such spray and prevent other people's droplets from reaching your mouth or your nose, thereby greatly decreasing the risk of either infecting others or becoming infected.

The masks protect both the one wearing it and those around them. When a carrier of the virus encounters another person, they are both better protected from infection when both are wearing masks.

It is evident that the virus is spread at a slower pace in places where a universal mask requirement is in order (e.g. Taiwan, China, Japan, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic) compared to places where there is no widespread use of masks (although a clear causal association is yet to be established).

Wearing facemasks covering the nose and mouth in public at all times will significantly decrease the risk for inter-personal transmission of the virus. 

  • What types of masks are suitable for use in public?
    • A commercial task-specific mask (medical or surgical) – The level of defense depends upon the type of mask
    • A reusable cloth mask may provide very good protection, depending on the type of cloth, its thickness, and the number of plies.
    • A make-shift mask made of any available cloth and string that covers the mouth and the nose (this type of mask is less ideal)
    • A N95-type mask (or similar) is suitable for use but not required.
    • A mask with a valve is forbidden for use since the valve constitutes a one-way opening, and does not stop the spraying of droplets

 

  • How can I make a cloth mask at home?
    • Use fabrics that are non-stretchable cotton fabrics with high fiber density such as high quality, unused sheets made from percale, satin, etc. Do not use any kind of towel-like or cloth-like fabrics.
    • Make the mask using two or three plies of fabric.
    • The mask should cover the mouth and nose well (possible dimensions – a rectangular mask 14x18 cm). Adjust according to head size and facial hair.
    • The mask is to be stitched on all sides.
    • Make a sleeve on the upper part into which to insert a metal wire (such as a paper clip) for better tightening around the nose.
    • Make laces for the mask at every angle for tying and tightening behind the head. You may use rubber bands instead of laces for tightening the mask around the ears or at the back of the neck.

 

  • How to use the various mask types?
    • Task-specific mask (medical, surgical or N95):
      • Can be reused
      • Remove the mask by untying the laces, without touching the front of the mask.
      • Keep the used mask in a clean and well-ventilated place, away from accidental touch, and preferably on top of a clean sheet of absorbent paper towel.
      • Dispose of a visibly dirty, worn out, torn, or wet masks.
    • Cloth mask:
      • Replace the mask when it is wet, dirty, or ideally – daily.
      • Remove the mask by untying the laces, without touching the front of the mask.
      • Keep the used mask in a clean nylon bag.
      • Wash the mask at a temperature of over 70 degrees for 30 minutes or more. You may hang it to dry in the open air or use a dryer.
    • Covering the mouth and nose with an available cloth:
      • It is preferable to use cotton cloth as dense as possible and avoid woolen scarves
      • Wash the cloth after daily use at a temperature of over 70 degrees for 30 minutes or more. You may hang it to dry in the open air or use a dryer

 

  • What should I know when using a mask?
    • Use of mask does not negate the need to maintain a 2-meter distance between people in public.
    • A worn out, wet, crumpled, or ill-fitted mask provides poor protection and should be replaced.
    • If the use of mask may cause breathing difficulties, especially among people with heart or lung conditions, it should not be used. Consult your primary care physician.
    • Contact with the mask can be contaminating: The mask can become contaminated by being touched with unclean hands and contact with the front of the mask can contaminate the hands. Be sure to wash hands frequently with water and soap or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

An extended webpage about using a mask 

Instructions for wearing a mask

  • What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses identified as the cause of certain animal diseases and it can cause disease in humans, too.
The name 'coronavirus' refers to their resemblance to a crown ('corona' in Latin) when viewed in an electron microscope. The severity of human illness depends on the particular virus strand of this family and ranges between mild ailment, such as a cold, up to a serious disease that can negatively affect the lungs and lead to multiple organ failure, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

 

  • What is the 2019 novel coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus had not been previously identified as a cause of disease in humans.
In December 2019, the coronavirus was identified as the pathogen causing a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei province, central mainland China, and later on, it was found to spread to all provinces of mainland China as well as internationally.
In terms of its genetic makeup, the SARS virus, which was the cause of severe morbidity in 2003/4, is the most similar to the novel coronavirus in China among all other coronaviruses that cause human morbidity.
On February 11 2020, the World Health Organization decided on an official name for the virus - SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes - COVID-19.
On March 11 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic.

 

  • How is the novel coronavirus transmitted to humans?

The vast majority of the first patients in this event either worked in the livestock and seafood market in Wuhan or visited it. Hence the hypothesis, that the virus spread from animals to human beings, but thus far, it was impossible to identify with certainty which animal.
Currently, the transmission of the virus is from person to person. The virus can exit the body from a sick person's respiratory tracts, mainly when sneezing or coughing. The dispersed droplets can be inhaled by other people or land on surfaces. People who shortly after that inhale these droplets or touch these surfaces and subsequently touch their mouths, noses, or eyes may become infected. Any person-to-person physical contact, such as kissing, hugging, having sex and hand shaking, without protection, is potentially infectious. It has yet to be determined how infectious this disease is, but at this stage, it seems that its level of infection is at least similar to that of the influenza virus. It is possible to become infected from patients with very mild symptoms.

 

  • What are the symptoms of the infection? And how severe is it?

A significant part of all people infected with the novel coronavirus do not develop symptoms at all. People infected with COVID-19 may  have symptoms similar to those of influenza. As a matter of fact, in most cases it is impossible to tell whether a person is infected with the novel coronavirus or has a respiratory disease without laboratory testing.

The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell have also been reported.

One in six confirmed patients develop a serious illness characterized by difficulty breathing. In rare cases, this illness may lead to acute pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), renal failure, and can be fatal.

The mortality rate of COVID-19 is estimated at 2% of all patients, but information from various countries is sometimes inconsistent. Note that since many carriers are asymptomatic (and are therefore untested), it is assumed that the mortality rate of those who were infected with the coronavirus is smaller.   

The symptoms

  • Who is at higher risk for becoming more acutely ill?
  • According to what we know so far, the following groups of people are at higher risk for becoming more acutely ill and experience complications:

    • Adults over age 65
    • Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities
    • People with an acute heart condition
    • People with acute chronic lung condition
    • Diabetics
    • Dialysis patients
    • Patients with cirrhosis of the liver
    • People with immunosuppression for any number of causes
    • People suffering from morbid obesity

 

  • What about those who recovered? Will they suffer long-term consequences? Can they be infected with the virus again?

We still don't have clear information on complications or long-term implications among those who have recovered.

Concerning reinfection, our working assumption right now is that any person who recovered from the virus is currently immune, and it is unlikely that they will become reinfected with the virus. However, we still don't know if this virus will behave like the influenza virus that is constantly mutating and will remain with us for the distant future.

 

  • What effects does the virus have on pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding?

The information that we have is still partial and is based on a handful of descriptions and on what we know about diseases of similar viruses.

Currently, there is no information on either short or long-term harm to fetuses or newborns as a result of the mother's infection with the viruses during the pregnancy. Miscarriages were described in some other viruses of the coronavirus family during the mother's pregnancy.

The vast majority of babies born to mothers who were infected with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus during pregnancy did not carry the virus, and the virus was not isolated in the amniotic fluid.

So far, the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has not been found isolated in breastmilk, and it is apparent that it is not transmitted through breastfeeding. However, it should be noted that breastfeeding is a close contact that may spread the virus by exposure to respiratory excretions or by contact (recommendations for a breastfeeding mother who is being home quarantined are detailed below).

  • How do you test a person for the novel coronavirus?

The diagnosis of the disease is by a laboratory test on a respiratory excretion sample. This test checks directly for traces of the virus's genetic material in respiratory excretions. Referral to this diagnostic test is according to various criteria (which are subject to change from time to time), including the presence and severity of clinical symptoms, possible exposure, place of living, risk of complications as a result of the infection, and so on.

Test results are received within 5 days upon testing.

How are tests for Novel Coronavirus performed? (Hebrew) 

  • Can I get tested at my own expense?

No, it is not possible to get tested at your own expense.

 

  • What is the meaning of a negative test result?
  • A negative test result indicates that traces of the virus are not found in the subject's respiratory tracts as of the date of collecting the respiratory excretion sample. The meaning of the negative result may vary according to when the sample was collected and for what purpose:

    • A negative result may be received at an early stage of the disease, before the onset of symptoms
    • A negative result while suffering from symptoms suspected as COVID-19 novel coronavirus indicates that there is a high probability that these symptoms do not result from infection with COVID-19
    • A negative result among a person who previously tested positive for the virus indicates that the body has overcome the virus and is indicative of a recovery process.

 

  • What is a serological test?

A serological test is a blood test checking for the presence of specific antibodies that a COVID-19 patient produces against the virus and which remains in the patient's body even after recovery. A positive serological test means that a person became infected with the virus. This test cannot provide a precise indication if the disease is active in the patient's body at the time of collecting the sample. Serological tests are currently unavailable in Israel. 

 

  • Is there a treatment for the disease caused by coronavirus?

Currently, there is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus. Patients in more severe states are treated with experimental treatments that are not yet fully proven. The treatment is mostly supportive in character and is given, based on patient’s clinical state. Antibiotics do not help patients fight novel coronavirus.

 

  • Is there a vaccine for the novel coronavirus?

There is no antiviral vaccine. Several groups across the world are attempting to develop a vaccine, yet an effective vaccine is not expected any time soon.

  • What can be done in order to avoid being infected by novel coronavirus?

In addition to wearing a mask, it is advised to always maintain the same hygiene rules, which may prevent infection with other respiratory tract viruses (such as influenza virus):

  • Wash hands with water and soap or with alcohol based sanitizer on a frequent basis.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory disease, and people who are sick, coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep a distance of 2 meters from any other person, avoid handshakes and any other physical contact.
  • Avoid direct contact with objects or surfaces in public areas that are likely to be constantly touched by many people.
  • Avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and throw it in the garbage. if you sneezed or coughed into your hand - washing your hands immediately after that.
  • Avoid using shared dinnerware at the same meal.
  • Avoid public areas when feeling sick.

 

  • When and whether is advisable to wear a protective mask?

The effectiveness of the mask in preventing infection with the novel coronavirus is limited. Upon continuous use, the mask becomes worn out and wet.

There is no recommendation to wear a mask on a routine basis in order to protect against respiratory diseases, including the one caused by the novel coronavirus. Individuals should wear one only if a specific recommendation is given by a medical personnel member.

People, who are supposed to wear the mask, are those who develop symptoms and are suspected or diagnosed as coronavirus patients (this, in order to prevent spreading the disease to others), as well as those, who come in contact or treat susceptible or confirmed patients (for their own protection).

 

  • Is it feasible to exercise caution with regard to food?

According to the currently available information, no coronavirus transmission has been reported by food packages or food itself.

However, it is important to always follow hygiene rules, when dealing with food or preparing a meal: frequent washing of hands and surfaces, separating between raw meat and other foods, full cooking and immediate cooling down of the food.

 

  • Is there a risk in receiving shipments and products shipped from overseas and especially from China?

According to the currently available information, coronaviruses do not survive on objects for a long time, and no transmission of the disease has been reported in this manner.

  • What are the restrictions and guidelines to the public in Israel?

Restrictions and guidelines to the public in Israel are constantly updated on Ministry of Health’s website under COVID-19 guidance.

 

  • What are the guidelines in places that receive the public (including clinics)?

Contact must be made by telephone or other online measures rather than arriving in person in order to determine if physical arrival is indeed necessary.
Physical arrival may take place only in vital cases. The guidelines must be maintained, while keeping a distance of at least 2 meters between people.

Follow the guidelines, for: What can be done in order to avoid being infected by the novel coronavirus?

Establishments are requested to make hand sanitizer available to the public and employees alike. In addition, surfaces must be cleaned often. The recommendation is to clean and sanitize surface with 70% alcohol or chlorine solution based sanitizers (home bleach).

 

  • What about the elderly population and those who come in contact with them?

For the elderly population, and especially those with chronic illnesses or a weak immune system, it is advisable to reduce social contact whenever possible while maintaining an active routine.
For those aged 60 and over, and for people with chronic diseases or suppressed immune system, it is advisable avoid groups in one space, avoid contact with people returning from any destination abroad, and avoid contact with people with symptoms, and those who are suspected of being infected.
People with fever or other respiratory symptoms must avoid contact with the elderly. Visits to welfare, nursing or healthcare establishments (where those residents live) are to be avoided, except a single visitor, preferably a direct family member.
Any person with fever or respiratory symptoms is not permitted to provide care for patients or visit establishments for the elderly.
Institutions have been instructed to prevent multiple visitors from entering for the benefit of resident health.

 

  • I have an appointment for medical examination or treatment, what should I do?

Each individual case should be reviewed. Contact the clinic or the hospital to find out if you need to arrive or what options you have to arrive.

 

  • Can a pet put at risk a person with being infected by a coronavirus and vice versa?

There are several indications that pets (especially cats) can become infected with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. However, there are no indications that a pet can infect a human.
It is recommended that you take precautions and avoid caring for a pet if you are suffering from symptoms suspected as COVID-19. If you must come in contact with pets in this situation, be sure to wear facemasks covering the nose and mouth and to wash your hands. People who tested positive for COVID-19 and own a pet (especially a cat) suspected of having been infected with the virus should keep the pet quarantined with them during their quarantine period.

 

  • How to cope with the new routine with a healthy approach?

During these times of personal and national coping with the Novel Coronavirus, it is a matter of great importance to maintain physical and mental health. It is important to maintain a healthy routine, healthy nutrition, physical exercise and stress relief activities. It is recommended to look at this situation as opportunity to take care of ourselves, relax and rest, eat healthy, exercise and enrich ourselves with new knowledge.

For further reading on the following topics:
 Strategies for isolation
 Healthy routine for children
 Keep active
 Healthy nutrition
 Time to relax

  • Who can visit tenants in a nursing home, assisted living residences or institutions for people with disabilities?

Only one person can attend each time. The visitor has to be a family member of the residents, a guardian, a primary caregiver or any significant other.

No visits are allowed if the potential visitor or the visitor's family member of the same household is in isolation or is a COVID-19 confirmed patient.

Visits must be scheduled and the visitor's identity must be confirmed with the tenants, subject to their needs and the counsel of the relevant professional body.

 

  • Is it allowed to bring food and personal belongings to residents?

The visitor may bring food in disposable containers or sealed packages. You should consult the management regarding bringing personal belongings.

 

  • How will the visit take place?

The visitor will have to agree to a body temperature check, must not have respiratory symptoms and will be required to sign a health statement.

The visit will take place in a designated visit area in the nursing home or health care facility and will be accompanied by a healthcare staff member who will supervise compliance with the guidelines.

During the visit at least 2 meters must be kept between the resident and the visitor and both the resident and the visitor must wear a nose mask for the entire duration of the meeting (except extraordinary cases). The visitor is responsible for his or her protection.

  • What are the recommendations for people traveling abroad?

In general, consider all nonessential travel abroad.

If, however, you do decide to travel, be sure to practice strict hygiene during your stay. Furthermore, it is recommended that you avoid contact with either living or dead animals, stay away from livestock markets, and avoid unnecessary visits in healthcare establishments.

In any case, due to the highly dynamic nature of the situation, it is recommended that you keep yourself up-to-date on the reports on the situation in your local region and the guidance by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local authorities at each destination.

 

  • Are there restrictions on traveling abroad?

It is recommended to consider nonessential private travel abroad.
Until further notice, all healthcare system personnel must not travel abroad.
The Civil Service Commission has issued guidance for state employees to avoid traveling abroad in an official capacity and to reconsider the necessity of traveling in a private capacity.
Avoid travel to international conferences, gatherings and events, including religious events.

 

  • I returned to Israel from abroad, what should I do?

All international travelers must enter 14-day isolation.

Upon arrival at an airport in Israel, international travelers must be able to prove they can enter isolation at home or another available place in full compliance of the isolation guidance. 

International travelers who cannot comply with home isolation guidance will be sent to state-sponsored motels for isolation.

Further information

 

  • Who is permitted to enter Israel?

Entry into Israel is permitted to any citizen or resident of Israel, but they are obliged to be isolated upon their arrival from abroad.
All foreign nationals are denied entry to Israel.
In exceptional cases, one may apply for approval of the Foreign Ministry subject to proof of the ability to remain in home isolation for 14 days upon arrival in Israel.

  • What is close contact? In what situations does contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 require home isolation?

Being within 2 meters, for at least 15 minutes with the confirmed patient. If you don't know this person, and the suspicion of contact is based on information about staying in a shared space only, at least 15 minutes of staying in the same space require entry into home isolation.
Working closely with or staying in the same classroom.
Shared travel by any means of transport.
Shared living.
Physical contact such as a kiss, a hug or a handshake, regardless of time spent in the patient environment.
It is important to realize that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 may have been healthy and without symptoms at the time of the encounter, but it was still possible that he or she was already contagious at the time.

 

  • I found out I had close contact with an individual or a group that was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, what should I do?

The Ministry of Health is investigating each and every case of close contact. If a person had close contact, this person must be placed under home isolation in line with given guidance and the law requires the person to send an online home isolation report to the Ministry of Health or to call the Ministry of Health Hotline *5400. If fever or respiratory symptoms develop, call an HMO clinic or your HMO Hotline (if you are not medically insured, contact the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400). If you are not sure whether there was close contact, call your HMO Hotline. If fever or respiratory symptoms develop, call your HMO Hotline, and do not go to an HMO clinic or the emergency ward.
Any person who does not satisfy the definition of close contact with a confirmed patient or group is not required to be placed under home isolation, but must monitor their health (fever 38C (100.4F) or higher, cough or other respiratory symptoms). If such symptoms develop, call an HMO clinic or your HMO Hotline (if you are not medically insured, contact the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400). If it is an emergency, call MDA Emergency Services at 101 or go to a hospital emergency ward.

 

  • I had close contact with a healthy person who had had contact with a novel coronavirus patient, and is now under home isolation. Can I be infected?

The risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus as a result of contact with a healthy person who had contact with a confirmed patient is low. This eventuality is not defined as exposure to a confirmed patient and so you may resume normal daily activities, and you do not need to be placed under home isolation.

 

  • I have a fever or a new cough but I do not know whether I have been in contact with a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not returned from abroad, what should I do?

If fever develops above 38 degrees C and also new respiratory symptoms, stay at home for 48 hours after the fever and symptoms disappear and reduce contact with household members. Staying at home is not defined as home isolation, but is an important precaution during this period and it is desirable to maintain the isolation rules here as well.
If you need medical care or further counseling, it is advisable to call your HMO clinic or HMO Hotline (if you are not medically insured, contact the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400). If it is an emergency, call MDA Emergency Services at 101 or go to a hospital emergency ward.

  • What is home isolation?

Home isolation is aimed at stopping the spread of infection and prevention of coronavirus spread in Israel. This requires avoiding public places. According to the order of Ministry of Health’s Director General (Hebrew), the home isolation lasts for 14 days since returning to Israel or the last contact with a confirmed patient. According to law, home isolation must be reported to the Ministry of Health by filling the online form or calling the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400.

Home isolation strategies

  • What is the guidance for home isolation?

14 Rules for 14 Days of Isolation

Guidance for the person under isolation:
• Stay indoors;
• Stay in a separate, well-ventilated room with a closed door. Exit the room if necessary, for very short periods only, cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. Several individuals of the same household can be isolated in the same room. If all household members require isolation, there is no restriction within the home;
• Wash hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after food preparation, before eating, and before and after using the toilet.
• Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is preferable to use disposable paper for hand drying;
• If available, use a separate bathroom;
• Keep mouth and nose covered while sneezing or coughing, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or sleeve. This is to prevent the virus from spreading. Immediately afterwards, wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with alcohol-based sanitizer;
• If breastfeeding, wash hands before touching the infant, wear a face mask or any other cloth while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a breast pump, wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts, and if possible, consider having someone who is well feed breast milk to the infant.
• If symptoms develop, call an HMO clinic or your HMO Hotline (if you are not medically insured, contact the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400). If it is an emergency, call MDA Emergency Services at 101 or go to a hospital emergency ward.

Guidelines for a group or family in home isolation (addition to the guidelines above)
• If there are several people in isolation in the same household, they can stay together in the same room.
• If all household members are required to be in home isolation, you can stay in all the rooms of the house.
• As much as possible from physical contact should be avoided between the residents.
• Do not share items without cleaning in between uses, including dishes and utensils.
• Before and after caring for a child, wash hands with soap and water.
• it is recommended to use toys that can be cleaned after use.

General guidance:
• There should be only one person who enters and exits the room of the isolated person or persons, this person should be a healthy person with no other diseases which might further increase their risk;
• No home visitors are allowed;
• Check that the common areas in the home such as the kitchen and the bathroom are well ventilated;
• Avoid entering the room of the isolated person person or persons as much as possible. Upon entering the isolation space, cover your mouth and nose, preferably with a face mask, cloth is also possible. Do not touch face mask while wearing it;
• Use disposable products such as gloves when exposed to the isolated person and the home isolation space, including dirty surfaces, clothes or beddings;
• Avoid direct contact with body fluids, especially oral secretions, airway secretions, urine and feces of the isolated person;
• Wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with appropriate alcohol-based sanitizer after every contact with the isolated person, the person's belongings, or immediate environment, before eating, and after using the toilet. There is a preference to wash with soap and water over sanitizer if the hands have visible dirt;
• Surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day, such as handles, light switches, toilets and showers, bedside tables, bed frame and other furniture in the isolated persons' room, with standard household disinfectant (soap or alcohol based- at least 70%). If possible, clean with 1000 ml of chlorine solution (eg "bleach" containing sodium chlorite - take 40 ml bleach and dilute in 1 liter of water) until the surfaces / items are dried. Gloves and a gown or apron should be used during the cleaning processes.
• Bed linen and laundry must be changed at least twice a week. All laundry of the isolated person must be stored separately in the isolation room until the time of washing. Care should be taken to avoid dirty laundry from coming into contact with other items, including clean laundry. Washing must be done separately, on a washing program of at least 65 ° C with regular laundry soap.
• Disposable products such as gloves, tissues, masks and other waste associated with the care of the isolated person must be disposed of in a dedicated bag in the patient's room and sealed tightly before being disposed of in an external garbage can;
• Avoid the sharing of common objects that could transmit the virus with the isolated person, such as: toothbrush, cigarettes, dishes and utensils, towels, beddings, etc. You can wash dishes and utensils with water and dish soap; and
• It is best do dishes in a dishwasher with a temperature of at least 65 ° C. If no dishwasher is available, dishes can be washed in hot water and dish soap and to ensure they fully dry in the drying rack. The utensils (plates, cups, cutlery and trays) of the people in isolation will be separate from those of other occupants, or they should use disposable utensils.
• All other household members must wash hands frequently.
• Practice strict hygiene

 

  • Are there any restrictions on household members of an isolated person?

Provided the home isolation conditions are maintained, household members can continue their normal activities.

 

  • Who will compensate the isolated person for absence from work?

Work absence during the isolation period shall be considered an absence from work due to illness, on condition that proof is submitted to certify the date of arrival to Israel.
You can print the general statement of illness (Hebrew) from the Ministry of Health Website. Do not ask your physician to issue a statement of illness for this absence.

 

  • How does one submit an appeal on a home isolation notice?

In the case that one has received a home isolation notice and thinks that there has been a mistake and there is no reason for them to enter isolation, one may submit an appeal to the Ministry of Health.

For more information on appealing a home isolation notice.

  • What kind of assistance does the Ministry of Health receive from the Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shabak)?

The Ministry of Health is using state-of-the-art technological solutions at Israel's disposal for epidemiological investigations of COVID-19 patients. This is why the Ministry forwards patient information to the ISA for an automatic checkup; the Ministry is sent back information about people who have been in close contact with a confirmed patient for up to 14 days before the patient was diagnosed.

The people exposed to the patient may become infected, they can infect their family members and relatives, even if they have no symptoms and are feeling well, and that is why they should enter isolation. They are notified by the Ministry of Health.

The patient is also notified if his or her information is forwarded for a checkup.

The automatic checkup does not analyze phone call content.

In compliance with the government resolution (Hebrew) in this matter, information about patients and the people exposed to the patients will only be used during the COVID-19 epidemic, to reduce and prevent the spread of the virus and to protect the safety and health of the public, so that it does not violate their privacy.

Note that the information will be erased when it is no longer necessary, at scheduled times set in the government resolution.

 

  • I am a COVID-19 confirmed patient and I have received a message (SMS) or a voice message that information about me has been passed on for completion of the testing - how can I know it is real?

The message from the Ministry of Health will usually address you by your private name.
You will be able to verify the message by calling to the number given in the message (08-6822334) from the same mobile phone that received the message. The automatic system will recognize, whether the number you have called from is included in the list of numbers, to which messages have been sent by the Ministry of Health.

If you receive a voice message, then your mobile phone does not accept text messages.

 

  • I am a COVID-19 confirmed patient and I have received a text message (SMS) or a voice message that information about me has been passed on for further investigation - why and what does it mean?

Due to increase in hundreds of new patients each day, it is impossible to conduct only an in person epidemiological investigation for each case by a professional. An epidemiological investigation is a process of identifying those people, places and times where exposure to the patient may have occurred prior to the diagnosis, and who may have been infected by them. Those who have been exposed are asked to enter isolation as soon as possible. Quick entry into isolation helps to protect public health, and especially people that are close to you.
In order to carry out epidemiological investigations in large numbers, we are aided by sophisticated technological means. Therefore, after diagnosis, details about the patient are passed on for investigation by technological means, and the patient is informed by text messages (SMS) or voice messages.
During the process, places will be identified where the patient visited in the past 14 days. Contents of conversations are not accessed. The information is used only by the Ministry of Health - and solely for finding those who were exposed to the patient and to discover the source of the infection. When we find out who was exposed to the patient - we will send them a text message (SMS) or a voice message that will inform them that they must enter isolation immediately.

 

  • I have received a message (SMS) or a voice message that information about be was forwarded for further investigation - but I was not diagnosed as COVID-19 patient. What should I do?

Sometimes the laboratory or the computer system have errors. If you received a message meant for confirmed patients and you are not sick, please contact the Ministry of Health Hotline as soon as possible at *5400.

 

  • I have received a message (SMS) or a voice message that I have to enter isolation - how can I know it is real?

The message from the Ministry of Health will usually address you by your private name.
The message will always include exposure date, which is no older than the former 14 days, and usually will include time range of your exposure to the patient as well. It will allow aiding you to recall, where you have been in the time of your exposure to the patient.
You will be able to verify the message by calling to the number listed in it (08-6822334) - from the same device, where the message has been sent. Automatic system will recognize, whether the number you have called from is included in the list of numbers, to which messages have been sent by the Ministry of Health.

 

  • I have received a text message (SMS) or a voice message that I must enter isolation - why and what does it mean?

Due to increase in number of new patients each day, epidemiological investigation is also carried out by sophisticated technological means. If you have received such a text or voice message, it indicates that you have been close enough to a person with a confirmed diagnosis for coronavirus, during the 14 days prior to their diagnosis, and you may have been exposed to the virus so that infection is probable.

As far as we know, you are still free of the disease, but during this period, if you have been infected, the virus may be passed on from you to others, to your relatives and others in the public. Therefore, you must enter home isolation, according to guidelines of the Ministry of Health as soon as possible, in order to expose as few people as possible. Quick entry to isolation and adhering to isolation directions helps to protect public health, and especially the health of those closest to you. The Ministry of Health guidelines for home isolation are located on Ministry’s dedicated coronavirus website.

Moreover, the law requires you immediately fill out and submit an online report of home isolation after contact with a COVID-19 case, and also state the location of the isolation.

During the technological investigation that is being carried out, contents of conversations will not be accessed. Information that has been gathered will be used only by the Ministry of Health - and solely for warning the public and those that may have been exposed. When no longer needed, the information will be erased.

 

  • I received another message (text message (SMS) or voicemail) that I have to send an isolation report – why, and what does it mean?

If you have not yet reported that you entered isolation and what the location is, you will receive a reminder, and later another reminder.

You must immediately report home isolation if you had close contact with a confirmed patient, and mention where you are staying in home isolation on the appropriate form.

Violation of an isolation duty is a criminal offense, and the penalty is NIS 5000.

Failure to report an isolation is a criminal offense, and the penalty is NIS 3000.

If you do not report, you will be contacted by the Ministry of Health, and your information will be forwarded for enforcement procedures, which might be aided by the police.

 

  • I have received a text message (SMS) or voice message that I must enter isolation - can I know who infected me?

No, you cannot. The patient has a right for medical confidentiality, therefore it is not possible to disclose his or her identity.

  • I received a text message (SMS) or voice message and I think this is a mistake. What should I do?

If you received a text or voice message instructing you to enter isolation and you think this is a mistake or you know of no reason to enter isolation, you can submit an appeal to the Ministry of Health by contacting the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400 (every day 07:00 - 23:00).

You will need to say the date and time of exposure to a patient that are written in the message or stated in the voice message, and explain why you think this is a mistake or why you are not required to enter isolation. Each appeal will be reviewed separately.

If your work in a hospital or a clinic, or MDA etc., and if exposure occurred while at work, you should call the medical staff hotline at 02-5080160 (08:00 - 22:00 daily) or email quarant.appeal@moh .gov.il and specify your full name, ID, telephone number, information regarding the date of exposure to the confirmed patient and the grounds for the appeal. Only inquiries from medical staff will be processed in this email address.

Note! While waiting for a decision, you must remain in complete isolation.

  • I received a text message that cancels a previous message about mandatory home isolation. Is it real? What should I do?

Sometimes a malfunction happens during one of the processing stages, and so a wrong message might be sent, or a message is sent to the wrong person. When the error is detected, the Ministry of Health sends a message to correct the error. The message can be verified at the phone number listed in it, and you can get more information from the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400.

 

  • How can I easily detect fake text messages (SMSs) or voice messages?

True message is sent by the Ministry of Health. If the text or voice message says the GSS sent it - it’s fake.
A true message will not require you pay a fine or threaten you in any sort of way.
A text message that arrived by means of other messaging software, such as WhatsApp or Messenger - is fake.

 

  • I have installed “HAMAGEN” application. Can I still get a message from the Ministry of Health?

Yes. “HAMAGEN” application does not replace sending of messages.

 

  • I saw in the publications that I was adjacent to a coronavirus patient but received no message. Do I have to enter into isolation?

Yes. You must enter isolation. All technology has limitations, and testing methods complement each other. Technological measures are unable to detect all those people, who were exposed to a patient. Therefore, you have to continue with being updated with locations of patients, published by the Ministry on the website, and act in accordance with this information. It is advisable to download “HAMAGEN” application of the Ministry of Health as well, that is automatically scanning locations, published by the Ministry against your locations.

 

  • I have received a message (SMS) that I have to enter isolation, but I am a medical personnel member, and on date specified by the message I was fully protected. What should I do?

Refer your superiors and make a decision on the need for isolation.

If you work in a hospital or a clinic, MDA, etc. but you are unsure whether you were exposed to a patient during your work, call the Healthcare Professional Staff Hotline 02-5080160 (daily 08:00-22:00) or send an email to quarant.appeal@moh.gov.il with your full name, ID number, phone number and information about the possible exposure as described in the text message, and the grounds for appealing. You must remain in isolation until you receive a reply.

  • Is tap water safe for use?

Yes. The Ministry of Health encourages the public to continue drinking tap water as normal. According to the World Health Organization, coronavirus has not been discovered in drinking water sources and supply systems. Drinking water sources are being regularly treated for bacteria and viruses, and water arrives treated at your tap.

 

  • Is it necessary to boil tap water?

No, boiling tap water is unnecessary. According to reports from around the world, coronavirus is not found in drinking water sources and supply systems. Drinking water sources are being regularly treated for bacteria and viruses, and water arrives treated at your tap.

 

  • Should I purchase or keep stock of bottled water?

No. The Ministry of Health recommends continuing using tap water as normal. The declaration of a state of emergency in the economy will not affect the supply of safe drinking water to the general public. Routine inspections of drinking water sources and supply systems continue.

  • Is it possible to become sick with coronavirus through contact with drain water or sewage?

According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that the sewage system serves as a conduit for coronavirus infection. Additionally, in most facilities for the treatment of sewage water, water is disinfected from bacteria and viruses.

 

  • Are those working with sewage or treated wastewater at a higher risk of becoming sick with coronavirus?

So far, there is no evidence that sewage serves as a conduit for coronavirus infection. It seems that the risk of coronavirus infection as a result of contact with sewage and treated wastewater is low. Treated wastewater may contain other disease carrying bacteria and viruses. Infection from bacteria and viruses with higher environmental survivability than coronavirus usually occurs by ingestion. coronavirus main vector for infection from person to person is by droplet infection – droplets originating in the respiratory excretions (i.e., coughing or sneezing) of an infected individual that enter the respiratory systems of uninfected individuals, or through physical contact with an infected person (e.g., through the palm that a coronavirus patient sneezed into).

 

  • Are special precautions against coronavirus necessary for agriculture workers and wastewater workers?

The precautions that exist in normal circumstances also apply during this time. farmers who use wastewater should, in general, regardless of the coronavirus crisis, take sanitary precautions, including washing and sanitizing their hands with water and soap and with sanitizer upon contact with wastewater, especially before contact with food, and to change their work clothes upon completing their work.

 

  • Are special precautions against coronavirus necessary for those working with sewage?

The precautions that exist in normal circumstances also apply during this time. People working with sewage should, regardless of the coronavirus crisis, work according to the Ministry of Labor's guidance. They should also maintain sanitary precautions, including washing and sanitizing their hands with water and soap and with sanitizer upon contact with wastewater, especially before contact with food, and to change their work clothes upon completing their work.

  • Can COVID-19 transmit through food?

So far, there are no indications that the virus is transmitted either by food or by food packages.

COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets that enter another person's mouth, nose, or eyes, including through contact with contaminated hands.

 

  • How can I stay safe (and prevent the spread of the virus) when shopping?
    • It is recommended that you avoid going out for shopping if you have fever or coughing.
    • It is recommended that you schedule your shopping for less busy times.
    • You should pick a local store that is not very crowded.
    • You should go shopping alone and not bring your whole family.
    • If possible, it is recommended that people over 65 or with chronic pre-existing conditions will avoid going out for shopping.
    • It is recommended that you abide by the general recommendations for preventing infection in public: wear a mask; avoid touching your face; avoid physical contact with other shoppers; and maintain a distance of 2 meters from people as much as possible.
    • It is recommended that you wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (alcogel) before and after shopping.
    • It is recommended that you use disinfectant wipes to wipe such surfaces as shopping cart handles or shopping bag handles.

 

 

  • What precautions should I take when receiving grocery deliveries?

Current studies have shown that COVID-19 may remain active and contagious on surfaces or objects for up to 72. However, it usually becomes inactive within 24 hours. Virus survivability on packages is low, and there is no evidence currently that packages may transmit the virus. Immediately upon putting the groceries away, wash your hands with water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 70% alcohol. 

 

  • What precautions should I take when preparing food?
    • Wash your hands after contact with food packages, after removing food from its packaging, before preparing the food, after handling raw materials (meat and fish products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables).
    • Wash fruits and vegetables with tap water until the coarse dirt is removed. It is not recommended that you wash them with soap (soap does not significantly improve the washing results, and traces of soap my remain on fruits and vegetables. Best results are achieved by rinsing fruits and vegetables under running water and scrubbing them. Washing detergent, in particular, is not intended for washing fruits and vegetables).
    • Dry fruits and vegetables by rubbing them with a clean towel.
    • Peeled fruits and vegetables such as watermelons or cantaloupes should also be washed before peeling, to reduce the risk of contamination by bacteria.
    • Use separate cutting surfaces for raw food and pre-cooked food.
    • Keep sensitive foods refrigerated.
    • Cook meat products thoroughly to destroy all bacteria.

Further information on food safety and hygiene.

 

  • Is there a risk for coronavirus infection from contact with surfaces only?

Most coronavirus infection cases result from direct contact between individuals and from exposure to respiratory excretions. The virus is excreted from a sick person's respiratory tracts, mostly when sneezing or coughing. The droplets can be inhaled by other people or land on surfaces.
People who will touch these surfaces shortly afterwards and subsequently touch their mouth, nose, or eyes may become infected. Therefore, it is recommended that you wash with water and soap or hand sanitizer.

 

  • Which surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized?

Mostly surfaces indoors and in the public sphere that come in contact with hands such as railings, handles, faucets, keyboards, desks, and so forth.

 

  • I want to sanitize surfaces at home or in the public sphere. What are the recommendations for an effective sanitization?

• Sanitization is to be done only by wiping the surfaces, and after they were cleaned with water and soap.
• Sanitization is to be done by an alcohol-based sanitizer at a concentrate of at a concentration of at least 70%, or by a chlorine solution (sodium hypochlorite 0.1%) until the surfaces are dry.

 

  • How can I make chlorine solution at a concentrate of sodium hypochlorite 0.1% (domestic bleach)?

Water down 40 ml of bleach solution with 1 liter of water.
Another possibility is to water down a cup of bleach solution with 5 liters of water.

 

  • Is it necessary to mass spray with disinfectants on a surface that requires sanitization?

It is neither necessary nor recommended to perform sanitization by mass spraying or fogging.

  • What is the situation in Israel and how is the Ministry of Health prepared for the novel coronavirus?

The Ministry of Health's policy at this time is one of preventing local infection, meaning the isolation of infected and suspected persons and the restriction of gatherings. At the same time, The Ministry continues a policy of "prevention", i.e. reducing the risk of more patients arriving in Israel. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health recommended measures to restrict entry to Israel for non-residents of Israel. In addition, the Ministry of Health has ordered home isolation for anyone who enters Israel from anywhere abroad, for 14 days.
The Ministry of Health follows the situation since it started and keeps in touch with the World Health Organization and other Health Ministries across the world. It issues guidelines to the Healthcare System and the general public on how to prepare for the possible spread of the virus to Israel. The healthcare system can identify potential infections, isolate them, diagnose them, and treat them.

View the COVID-19 spread in Israel (Hebrew)

View home isolation by municipality (Hebrew) 

  • For questions about home isolation and general questions about the novel coronavirus, call the Ministry of Health Hotline *5400 (available Sun-Thu 08:00-18:00, Fri 08:00-13:00).
  • For comprehensive information on the COVID-19 outbreak from multiple ministries, click here for Gov.il.

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