“Israel Has 2nd Highest Infection Rate In The World,” Health Expert Says



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    “Israel Has 2nd Highest Infection Rate In The World,” Health Expert Says

    Israel’s daily COVID cases continue to mount and the number of seriously ill patients skyrockets to over 500 (from just 100 a few weeks ago), Health Ministry to continue administering 4th vaccine dose, despite new evidence that it is not very effective against Omicron • Full Story

    As Israel’s daily COVID cases continue to mount and the number of seriously ill patients skyrockets to over 500 (from just 100 a few weeks ago), Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said on Tuesday that the health system is under intense strain.

    Ash added that he thinks the number of cases will peak in about another week but Israel still faces a difficult two or three weeks ahead.

    The Health Ministry had not updated its COVID data dashboard in two days, blaming technical problems, but these appeared to have been solved by Tuesday evening.

    The Health Ministry said Tuesday it will continue to offer fourth vaccine doses to Israelis over 60 and at-risk groups, despite a study released Monday indicating the fourth shot does not provide sufficient protection against Omicron. Initial data showed the current widespread Omicron variant is able to bypass the vaccine in many cases.

    Prof. Eran Segal of Weizmann Institute also said on Tuesday that the number of cases will soon peak and estimated that about two million Israelis have contracted the Omicron COVID variant so far.

    “About three weeks ago, we estimated that the increase would continue for three weeks, after which we would see a decrease,” Segal said in an interview with Yediot Achranot. “That’s happening now – just as we predicted.”

    “In terms of daily verified cases, we’re in second place in the world, below Ireland.”

    The Health Ministry said there were 65,259 confirmed new infections on Monday, and 62,210 new cases Sunday. Both figures marked daily records.

    But health officials have said the dose’s effect of significantly increasing antibody counts in the blood could still help protect people from serious illness.

    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Tuesday for an end to the widespread use of the “Green Pass” certificate, given to vaccinated individuals, those who’ve recovered from the disease or those with a negative test from the previous 48 hours.

    “There is no medical or epidemiological logic in the Green Pass, many experts agree,” Liberman said. “There is, however, direct harm to the economy, to daily operations and a not insignificant contribution to daily panic in the public.”

    Liberman said he was working with “all the authorities” in order to get rid of the Green Pass and “maintain a normal life routine for all of us.”

    Israelis are only allowed into many public and private facilities with a Green Pass.

    Also Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Liberman announced that some 25-30 million rapid home test kits will be distributed for free throughout Israel.

    According to an official statement, distribution is set to begin next week, with some of the tests to be earmarked for specific segments of the population.

    The demand for rapid tests is expected to go up after the government on Monday announced that the mandatory quarantine period for Israelis infected with COVID-19 would be shortened from a week to five days.

    Vaccinated people who are infected but asymptomatic will need two negative antigen tests, on the fourth and fifth day, to be released from quarantine. Unvaccinated asymptomatic people will need the test on the fifth day to be conducted at a recognized testing facility, and cannot rely on a home test.

    Those still displaying symptoms are required to keep isolating for a total of 10 days.

    The move also shortens the isolation period for people exposed to a confirmed coronavirus carrier, who currently must quarantine for at least a week if they are unvaccinated or did not recover from COVID. Those with immunity are already exempt from quarantine if they test negative after being in close contact with an infected person.

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    “Israel Has 2nd Highest Infection Rate In The World,” Health Expert Says



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