Unvaccinated people or those who have not previously had COVID-19 and who have been exposed to a known virus carrier will only need to spend a week in isolation, rather than the current 10 to 14 days. The same will apply to unvaccinated returnees from abroad.
On the seventh day, those isolated will be able to be tested for the virus and, if negative, be released from quarantine.
The quarantine period is currently 10 days with two negative tests or 14 days without testing. Those who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 are required to self-quarantine after exposure to virus carriers or international travel. Vaccinated and recovered are not required to go into isolation unless confirmed to have the virus – although all arrivals from overseas will soon be required to enter quarantine for 24 hours or until they receive a negative test result, even if they are vaccinated.
At a meeting of the coronavirus cabinet, a forum of ministers responsible for setting virus policy, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the government was introducing measures the public can live with.
“We expect all members of the public to fully comply with quarantines, with testing at the end of the [isolation] period, with vaccinations and with wearing masks, ”Bennett said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset, Jerusalem, July 13, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
“We are committed to doing everything to protect public health with minimum impact on daily life,” said Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz.
At the cabinet meeting, ministers also decided to set up rapid virus testing sites across the country.
The Ministry of Health also presented a proposal to partially reintroduce a framework limiting access to certain public events.
The so-called Green Pass system, which was used temporarily in the past, would apply to indoor events attended by more than 100 people, such as weddings, performances, gymnasiums, restaurants, cafeterias and places of worship.
Unvaccinated people, or those who have not recovered from the virus, will be barred from entry unless they take a rapid test outside the site for the virus or present a HIV test. negative virus carried out within the previous 48 hours.
The system would not apply to shopping malls, shopping areas or public transport.
The ministry also requested an additional 1.5 billion shekels ($ 457 million) for the virus response, of which 300 million shekels ($ 91 million) will be used to purchase more vaccines, Channel 13 reported.
There is reportedly a lingering disagreement between health officials and ministers over whether to apply the restrictions and how best to assess the need for them. While health officials view the rapid increase in the number of new daily cases as the benchmark to use, ministers prefer to use the number of severe cases or deaths. While the number of daily cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, the number of severe cases has increased at a much slower rate.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health reported that there were 4,831 patients infected with the virus and that 745 new patients infected with the virus had been diagnosed the day before.
There are 45 critically ill patients and the death toll since the start of the pandemic is 6,439.
A month ago, on June 16, only 25 new cases of the virus were diagnosed – a striking difference. That same day, there were 27 patients in serious condition.
The continued increase in new cases comes as the start of the school year approaches. Haim Bibas, president of the Federation of Local Authorities, on Tuesday called on Bennett and Horowitz to approve the establishment of a rapid virus testing system in schools and kindergartens across the country with a view to the first day of study on September 1, Channel 13 news reported.
Bibas argued that the system is necessary to prevent disruptions encountered in the previous year, when infected students who entered schools and kindergartens would force anyone they came into contact with into quarantine. preventive. Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton is not opposed to the measure, although it is not clear where the funding for such a system would come from, according to the report.
Bibas proposed to launch a pilot project with summer camps and summer schools to test the operation of such a system.
This issue was to be brought up for discussion in cabinet, according to the report.
While the Ministry of Health does not formally plan to vaccinate children under 12, the epidemiological division within the ministry has already prepared a draft recommendation for the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 who have d ‘other medical problems that compromise their immune systems, Channel 12 news reported.
While the draft document opens by acknowledging that at present there is no widespread immunization effort for children aged 5 to 11, it also notes that “there are special situations in which vaccination may be considered at these ages ”, such as cases where there is a reasonable risk of serious infection or death from COVID-19.
The project notes that Pfizer advises that children in the 5-11 age group should receive doses that are one-third of the normal vaccination dose and that close monitoring of children would be necessary to identify side effects.
After successfully reducing the number of viral infections, Israel largely lifted the restrictions it had imposed over the past year to reduce morbidity. However, with the recent increase in cases, officials have spoken of the need to reimpose certain measures.
The resurgence of the coronavirus in Israel has been largely attributed to the spread of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India and is believed to be twice as contagious as the original coronavirus strain.