People waiting in line at Israel’s largest drive-through Covid testing station run by Magen David Adom (MDA) can’t believe their eyes when they see that one of the hardworking testers is none other than Eli Bin, CEO of MDA, Israel’s national emergency response network.
“All of MDA’s management is required to spend at least four hours at the testing sites to assist the employees and volunteers … to shorten the wait times and provide quality service,” said Bin.
One man, who’d waited in line at Ganei Yehoshua for three hours, reported that he was shocked to see Bin conducting tests well after midnight.
“Eli Bin is an example and a role model for management and leadership, especially in these challenging days,” he posted on social media.
Bin adds that most people don’t notice his nametag because they are understandably feeling stressed and anxious. But sometimes, “as my swab tickles their nose, they’ll say, ‘Hey, you’re the CEO of MDA?!’”
Bin not only takes shifts performing tests at Tel Aviv’s Ganei Yehoshua park – which is open 24/7 and processes a few thousand antigens and PCR tests each day— but he also helps administer vaccines at some of MDA’s 250 locations throughout the country.
“He really works as one of the employees,” says MDA Deputy Spokesman Nadav Matzner. “He likes to pitch in because he started working as a youth volunteer for MDA at age 15 and later became an ambulance driver.”
The Omicron wave has led to long wait times at testing centers, and MDA is continually opening new ones to meet the demand.
“It is important for me personally to come to the sampling and vaccination complexes,” said Bin, “firstly to lend a hand and assist the teams, and secondly to monitor MDA’s activities in the field. We always strive to improve, advance and provide better service to citizens, and I examine our work comprehensively and thoroughly. In view of the Omicron wave, we are more in the field and help our teams as much as possible.”
On 16 Jan 2022, Israeli Covid-19 testing Centre received 286,167 people, and more than 33,622 came up positive, according to the Health Ministry. There are more than 253,000 active Covid-19 cases in the country, 446 of them serious.
As of Sunday night, 537,419 Israelis have gotten a fourth dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine since the booster was authorized on January 3.
Due to the increase in Covid-19 morbidity and the heavy workload in the testing system, MDA— which has about 30,000 employees and volunteers nationwide— has started training students from 57 pre-military academies and yeshivas to assist at its testing sites.
Furthermore, MDA announced on Sunday that it teamed up with Microsoft Israel to develop a bot based on artificial intelligence that explains to citizens what procedures to follow if they’ve come in contact with a verified Covid-19 patient.
The bot, developed in just seven hours on the Azure platform, helps people figure out if they are supposed to be in isolation, for how long, what type of test they need to do, and where to get tested.
“The success of Magen David Adom is due to human capital— the volunteers and employees, the staff in the office and in the field,” said Bin. “For the past two years, we have been working around the clock with the aim of fighting the coronavirus and preventing its spread.”
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