The health ministry said the exceptional announcement was made amid fears the carrier of the virus was linked to someone recently returned from overseas. It was not clarified whether there were concerns that the infected person had violated any regulations.
Under current regulations, those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus are exempt from quarantine requirements.
However, everyone at the show at Kimron Hall on the evening of June 17 was ordered to go into isolation immediately for 14 days, a timeframe that could be shortened to 10 days with negative tests early in the period and the ninth. day.
The announcement came amid growing concerns about outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, which is more contagious than other variants and may be better able to bypass vaccines.
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A military task force warned on Sunday that the variant could be 60% more transmissible than the British variant which is currently the dominant strain in Israel, and could see two and a half times as many patients requiring hospital care.
However, according to the report, the Pfizer vaccine used in Israel apparently prevents the vast majority of severe cases.
Israeli teenager Ella, 14, receives a dose of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Maccabi health services in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 6, 2021, as Israel begins a coronavirus vaccination campaign for 12 to 15 year olds. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A senior health official told public broadcaster Kan that the Pfizer vaccine was believed to be 88% effective against the Delta variant, compared to 96% against the British strain, but noted that around 35% of the population in Israel does not was still not vaccinated.
The military intelligence task force also said that the rate of transmission of the coronavirus in Israel had sharply increased to 1.5.
The basic reproduction number, or R number, is the number of new cases resulting from each coronavirus infection, or the number of people who got the virus from each infected person. Any number less than 1 means the pandemic is slowing down, while a number greater than 1 means it is spreading. The figures are based on the number of new cases 10 days earlier due to the incubation period of the virus.
The warnings came as the health ministry reinstated the requirement to wear masks in schools in Modiin-Maccabim-Reut municipality and Binyamina town from Sunday. The re-imposed regulations apply to all areas of schools, both indoors and outdoors, the ministry said in a statement. Additionally, Modiin mayor Haim Bibas reinstated the indoor mask mandate throughout the city after it was abandoned nationwide last week.
The demand came a day after it was announced that 44 students from two schools in the northern city of Binyamina have tested positive for the coronavirus. Earlier this week, 15 sixth-graders were infected in the central city of Modiin.
A senior health official told public broadcaster Kan that 90% of students who tested positive in Binyamina had symptoms, but did not say if any were serious.
A UK study published last week said young people with the Delta variant often suffered from what they thought was a bad cold, with headaches and a runny nose often cited as symptoms.
According to public broadcaster Kan, early tests indicate that the outbreaks in Modiin and Binyamina were both of the Delta variant. The report said several vaccinated adults had been infected during the outbreaks in schools.
According to reports, there were concerns that the two school outbreaks were linked to people recently returning from overseas travel without following quarantine rules. The Department of Health currently advises against all non-essential travel.
Meanwhile, a school in Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’akov Ihud was closed on Sunday over concerns over a potential outbreak when a student’s father returned from a trip to Dubai and tested positive for the coronavirus, reported the Kipa website. The report says the father was not suspected of breaking quarantine rules when he infected his children.
The health ministry plans to reimpose some COVID-19 restrictions on unvaccinated people returning from abroad, as well as those arriving from “high-risk” countries, amid fears of a new outbreak of the virus in the country. country, according to a Saturday TV report.
Authorities expect unvaccinated people over the age of 14 and anyone arriving from countries deemed to be at high risk to be required to self-isolate at home with an electronic bracelet, Channel 12 reported. Those who refuse the bracelet will have to spend their period of isolation in state-run quarantine hotels, according to the report.
Previous plans to use electronic bracelets to self-isolate arrivals were only partially implemented.
On June 1, Israel lifted almost all remaining virus-related restrictions.
Health ministry officials estimate that only around 70% of people arriving from overseas have been vaccinated and many are not properly quarantined, this may be of concern.
Kan reported on Saturday that about a third of people who tested positive for the Delta variant after international travel were fully vaccinated. The report did not give a source for the figure or the actual number of people, and did not say whether any of them were symptomatic.
The health ministry on Friday temporarily suspended the requirement for travelers entering Israel to be tested for coronavirus upon arrival, following crowds at the airport as a bottleneck unfolds. formed around passengers waiting to be swabbed.
At least 1,000 people entered without being tested, according to Kan, although those arriving from high-risk countries – Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia – were not allowed to skip the test itself. if they were vaccinated, according to Hebrew media. reports.
A nationwide vaccination campaign has already seen more than half of Israel’s population vaccinated against COVID-19, and reduced daily new cases from thousands at the start of the year to just a handful a few days ago several weeks. However, that climbed back to 46 people diagnosed on Saturday, a continuation of the trend seen in recent days of a slight increase in rates.
Data from the Health Ministry released on Sunday showed that while there are only 290 patients infected with the virus in the country, the number is starting to rise. Since the outbreak began early last year, 839,837 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Israel and 6,427 have died from the disease.