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Israel Braces for Surge as Omicron is Now 50% of all Cases, But May Soon Reopen for Tourism


PM Naftali Bennett and his son David Getting Covid Vaccination (GPO)

Israel continues to deal with the Covid pandemic. On Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz held a discussion on updating the quarantine format for those who have been exposed to verified cases of the Omicron strain.

The Health Ministry’s proposal to update the quarantine format was discussed.

Bennett said, “No one, and especially those who have children in the education system, will escape this wave in a way or another.” This may have been in reference to the decision to close many school in Israel and return to remote learning. And American authorities are reporting higher rates of infection among children.

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The meeting came as some very troubling new numbers have been revealed about the Coronavirus pandemic in Israel. And the Prime Minister himself was forced to enter quarantine as one of his children had been exposed to the virus and tested positive.

Israel’s Ministry of Health has revealed that Sunday saw 1,760 new coronavirus cases diagnosed across Israel. This equates to a rate of 1.87% among tested.

Throughout the country, there are now 87 people hospitalized with what are characterized as severe cases of Covid. Of these, 47 are in critical condition and 38 are intubated.

The problem is clearly with the unvaccinated. The Health Ministry reported that the latest data shows that nearly 86% of the seriously ill are completely unvaccinated. Among the seriously ill patients under age 60, 95% are completely unvaccinated.

So the government continues its campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The Tweet below reads: “The warnings Warning sign are becoming a reality, the omicron is spreading at record speed in Israel. Over 3,000 children up to the age of 18 were hospitalized following Corona in Israel. Take advantage of the time to get vaccinated and vaccinate the children. Get vaccinated now. Before it’s too late!”

On the bright side, Minister Horowitz said that Israel may soon reopen for tourism. Sunday night he told Israel’s Kan news, “when we made the decision [to close the skies] in the beginning, the majority of Omicron cases were coming from abroad…” But things have changed in the last month as he explained saying that, “now, more and more of the infection is happening inside Israel.”

In other words, the cat’s already out of the bag and there is no reason to continue a national closure since Omicron is already spreading in the country.

And Israel’s Sheba Medical Center launched on Monday a first-of-its-kind study as to the efficacy of administering a fourth Coronavirus vaccine. The study will see 6,000 volunteers receive a fourth vaccination.

Professor Gili Regev-Yohai, director of the Infection Prevention and Control Unit at Sheba, will lead the study. He commented, “In this study, we will examine the effect of the fourth vaccine on antibody levels, on disease prevention and examine its safety. This study is expected to shed light on the additional benefit of giving the fourth dose, we will understand whether and to whom it is worth giving a fourth dose.”

“This study and previous studies led by Sheba Medical Center make it possible to investigate issues that arise while managing the fight against the epidemic and to serve as the decision-makers in determining health policy in Israel and around the world,” he added.



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