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MDA prepares for a challenging Yom Kippur in light of corona pandemic

Magen David Adom (MDA) has entered a state of emergency as part of its efforts to prepare for this year’s Yom Kippur fast in light of the nationwide lockdown.The Yom Kippur fast is scheduled to begin on Sunday evening and end on Monday evening.Some 2,000 calls reach the MDA 101 emergency hotline during Yom Kippur each year. The incidents that require medical treatment during the fast are often cases of dehydration, a danger that increases during fasting, and injuries of children left unattended by their parents, according to an MDA press release.Considering the challenge that the organization already faces this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic, MDA director-general Eli Bin held a situation briefing this past week and ordered the organization’s personnel to remain on high alert during Yom Kippur.“This year’s Yom Kippur is expected to take place in a different format than that which we’re familiar with. Although the streets are expected to be empty, the coronavirus pandemic and the fast may lead to many medical emergencies,” Bin noted.MDA has asked synagogues that are planned to remain open according to a special outline for holding public prayers during Yom Kippur to prepare an emergency cellphone to be used if needed.“I ask the public to clear the roads and allow MDA ambulances to pass through safely,” Bin added, as one of the challenges that paramedics usually face during Yom Kippur are attempts to block roads and highways throughout the country, which disrupt the activity of ambulances and may endanger human lives.  On Thursday, Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar-David dispatched an urgent letter to Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, warning him of a complete collapse of the MDA unless it receives significant reinforcements to its personnel.“MDA’s working force is reaching its limit and is near collapse,” Bar-David wrote, explaining that MDA employees were recruited to deal with the national effort of combating the coronavirus pandemic, along with their ongoing responsibility of providing emergency medical treatment to Israel’s public.  

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