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COVID: Lockdown could be decided before end of August – Ash

CM 05/08/2021

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Israeli government authorities do not want to impose a lockdown, but if the situation requires, it could be decided already before the end of August, Health Ministry’s director-general Prof. Nachman Ash said in an interview to the army radio Thursday, as Israel registered over 3,000 cases for the third day in a row.
Ash was asked about a proposal to make the move already in the next two weeks or so as suggested by Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin during the latest coronavirus cabinet meeting, in order to avoid reaching an emergency in serious morbidity.
Ash said that he is not in favor of moving up such a dramatic step too much, but rather follow the number of serious patients and the effects of the vaccination campaign for a third vaccine to the elderly in the next ten days or two weeks.

“We do not want to reach a lockdown, but the reality could make it a necessary step,” he noted. “We have started a third vaccination campaign to reduce the serious morbidity, and if we see a decrease it could prevent – or delay – more difficult steps.”
However, Ash also said that if no improvement is registered, a lockdown could happen even before the end of August.
Some 3,421 new cases were registered on Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported on Thursday.
While the number marks a slight increase compared to Tuesday – when some 3,290 virus carriers were identified – it also confirms a decrease from Monday – when the fourth wave record of 3,851 cases was registered.
In addition the positivity rate of tests administered also offered a slight decline for the second day in a row. From the fourth wave peak of 3.8% on Monday, it went down to 3.35% on Tuesday and 3.28% on Wednesday.
On weekdays last week, Israel had some 2,100-2,400 new cases per day, with a 2.3-2.5% positive rate.
The number of serious patients on Thursday stood at 241, five more than the previous day and almost 90 more than seven days before. Experts fear that if serious morbidity continues to grow at a similar rate, by the end of the month Israel could have as many as 1,600 serious patients, overwhelming the health system.
The hope is that the third shot to people over 60 – who represent the majority of serious patients – is going to change the trend.
The response to the new vaccination campaign so far has been positive, with some 263,000 people already jabbed out of a total population of about 1.6 million.
“In the next two to three weeks, those over the age of 60 who have not yet been vaccinated are at a six-fold higher risk than those who are vaccinated for the third time after five days since their third inoculation,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday, calling on the public to go and get the shot, but also to take every precaution before the new immunization kicks in.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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