Coronavirus patient smashes window, tries to break out of hospital room

Wolfson Medical Center says Israeli who returned from Austria and was diagnosed burst through doors before being stopped

Illustrative: Doctors and nurses treat a patient at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: Doctors and nurses treat a patient at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A man infected with the coronavirus on Monday tried to escape from quarantine at the hospital where he is receiving treatment.

Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, said the patient had been diagnosed with the virus after returning from a ski vacation in Austria.

“After four days of hospitalization, he violently broke the window and burst through the doors of the quarantine room,” the hospital said in a statement, adding that the incident occurred even though the hospital had supported him and implored him not to violate the quarantine order.

“After police forces arrived, and with the help of the dedicated hospital staff, the patient was returned to his room, and afterward was brought to the quarantine department that was opened at the hospital,” it added.

The hospital said attempts to violate quarantine endanger the medical staff and other patients.

Over 50,000 Israelis are currently in quarantine, and at least 277 are confirmed to be infected with the virus.

Workers inside a building at Tel HaShomer Hospital which was converted to receive the Israelis who were under quarantine on the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, due to the spread of the coronavirus, and arriving in Israel tonight, February 20, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Earlier Monday, the Health Ministry said it was considering dramatically increasing its restrictions on movement for all Israelis in a bid to further slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We may ask people to leave the house less, and only for necessary errands. The government is considering a general closure on all citizens, and if that happens it would mean all age groups will be asked to stay home until further notice,” the ministry’s deputy director general, Itamar Grotto, said.

Grotto also said the ministry was “planning greater oversight for the population over 70, which is at risk. We’re preparing now for hospitals to be able to hold the corona patients who will need treatment, and most of the less urgent patients will be in home hospitalization, unless they cannot be hospitalized at home for socioeconomic or family reasons.”

The comments came amid a new round of consultations by senior officials over increasingly drastic measures to limit contact and slow the virus’s spread.

“For the time being, a general shutdown of the economy isn’t planned,” an unnamed senior official told reporters on Monday. But, he added, “the government is preparing to cut back on public transportation.”

People wearing protective masks arrive at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital on March 16, 2020 in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the latest meeting together with the ministers of finance, health, economy and transportation, the head of the National Security Council and senior officials from relevant ministries.

The Monday afternoon meeting was to examine further ways to limit human contact while also reducing the cost for the Israeli economy of the near-total shutdown of business and travel in the country.

Netanyahu is expected to deliver a public announcement about the conclusions of the meeting on Monday evening.

On Saturday, the government announced the latest wave of restrictions, saying all educational institutions would be shuttered and gatherings limited to no more than 10 people at any one time.

On Sunday, all “non-essential” businesses, including malls, restaurants and most stores, were shut down.

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