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Coronavirus: Cabinet to meet Tuesday, may tighten green pass

CM 02/08/2021

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The coronavirus cabinet is scheduled to meet on Tuesday against the backdrop of an increase in morbidity in Israel. The Health Ministry might recommend the ministers to tighten the green pass system.
Currently the outline which grants access to venues and activities only to people who are fully vaccinated, recovered or who underwent a coronavirus test in the previous 72 hours, applies only to gatherings larger than 100 people.
“We are considering tightening the green pass and additional measures as much as possible, without harming economic activity,” Health Ministry’s Director General Prof. Nachman Ash said in a press briefing on Monday.
Ash described the situation as worrisome.

Some 2,114 new cases were identified on Sunday, with some 80,000 tests processed. The number is lower than the peak of the wave reached on Friday, with over 2,400 new virus carriers identified, but almost 100,000 tests processed. Typically, less tests are performed during the weekend and therefore the data on Sunday is still influenced by this factor.
The number of serious patients stood at 212, similar to the previous night. Of those, some 42 were on ventilators.
At the same time, Ash described the response to the new vaccination campaign to give people over 60 a booster as positive.
Israel launched a campaign to administer a new shot to people whose immunity has been considered waning on Friday, in a rush to prevent the country’s fourth wave to further escalate.
In the past few weeks, over half of the new cases have been recorded among people who were fully vaccinated. This helped to keep the rise in serious morbidity significantly more limited than that of general  morbidity. However, also about two thirds of the patients in serious conditions – 212 as of Monday morning – were fully inoculated, most of them elderly who were the first to get jabbed in January.
The data prompted the authorities to pursue the new vaccination campaign, with the goal of giving hundreds of thousands of Israelis a booster within ten days.
Ash said that it will probably take some two or three weeks to see the effect of the third shot on the morbidity, while on the individual level a person can expect to have a significant increase in the level of antibodies within a few days.
Also on Monday, Education Ministry’s Director General Yigal Slovik said that the ministry’s goal is to start testing 1.6 million Israeli children for the presence of coronavirus antibodies in the upcoming days.
“This mapping will allow hundreds of students to be in the classrooms without the need for isolation, as they will be eligible for a green pass,” Slovik told the Knesset Education Committee, referring to the situation where students come in contact with a verified case and according to current rules are required to quarantine. “I believe that towards the end of next week we will be able to start this national operation. We reached an agreement with the Health Ministry this morning.”
The operation will target children attending preschool and up to sixth grade, who are not eligible for a vaccine.
Slovik also said that they are also continuing to work on a special quarantine outline for the education system.
Last week, the Education Ministry’s proposal to release children who came in touch with a virus carrier to leave isolation after 48 hours and a negative test was rejected by Ash.
In the press briefing Ash confirmed that they are still trying to work out a solution.
He said that the general plan will focus on guaranteeing in person learning as much as possible, and that in locations with a high level of morbidity classes might be split.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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