by: Adir Yanko, Itamar Eichner
Wednesday, 4 August 2021 | Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Tuesday evening that Israel could face “severe restrictions” if there is not a sharp uptick in the number of people having the coronavirus vaccination in the face of the fast-spreading Delta variant.
“It all depends on the data we receive and the effects [of the vaccination campaign] out in the field,” Bennett told the ministerial committee for handling the pandemic.
Israel has recently begun administering a third dose of the vaccine to the over-60s due to concerns that the level of protection the inoculation provided was dropping over time.
Bennett’s message was echoed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who told ministers that the public should prepare for another lockdown during the Jewish High Holidays next month if the daily coronavirus infection rate did not drop.
Gantz told the so-called coronavirus cabinet that closure in September would cause less economic damage as Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year], Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] and Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles] all fall during the month this year.
The cabinet approved the resumption of the mandate for wearing masks out of doors in gatherings of more than 100 people, backed a return to working remotely where possible and canceled the exemption from the “Green Pass” for the under-12s who are yet to be part of the vaccination drive.
The “Green Pass” system means people have to show proof of vaccination, recent recovery from COVID or a new negative test in order to access many venues and workplaces.
Israel has seen its daily infection rate soar into the thousands as the Delta variant spreads across the country. On Monday, the number of daily cases surpassed 3,000 for the first time since March.
The Health Ministry said that 3,818 Israelis tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. With more than 101,766 tests conducted, the positivity rate stood at 3.78%.
Out of 22,345 active patients, 221 are in serious condition, with 46 connected to ventilators.
The death toll since the start of the pandemic rose to 6,492.
On Monday, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Nachman Ash expressed concern over the continued rise in coronavirus cases.
“The situation is worrying,” he said during a press briefing. “This morning again we saw a rise in both normal and serious illness. I call on everyone to adhere to guidelines, use face masks and follow the Green Pass or any other directives. Keeping in line with these measures saves lives. We are all obligated to do so.”
The Health Ministry chief said he was encouraged by the number of Israelis over 60 who were getting their third vaccine dose, with 45,000 having received booster shots so far.
He added that no “special side effects” had been reported among those who received the third jab.
Posted on August 4, 2021
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