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COVID: Some 600,000 get third vaccine, less than 50 reports of side effects

CM 09/08/2021

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Some 600,000 Israelis over the age of 60 have received a third COVID-19 shot as of Monday out of a population of 1.6 million, the Health Ministry reported. But morbidity and serious morbidity continue to increase, with some 3,609 new cases identified as of 6 p.m., it said.
The numbers indicate that with some 373 patients in serious condition, 158 more than seven days ago, there is a possibility of imposing a lockdown in September to contain the new wave.
But Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of a closure to curb the rise in morbidity.
“A lockdown is not the right thing,” he said during a press briefing. “It is not clear that there is a correlation between closures and a decrease in the number of new cases and seriously ill patients. But it is clear that there is a correlation between closures and economic damage.”

Most government and health officials have repeatedly said a lockdown is only the last resort. They include Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash and head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis.
“What defeats the pandemic is the vaccines, not lockdowns,” Alroy-Preis said Monday during a meeting of the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee. “A lockdown is a tactical measure. We are trying not to get there, and in order not to get there, the pandemic must be slowed by employing all available tools: the Green Pass, the Purple Ribbon and caps on gatherings.”
The Purple Ribbon standards place a limit on the number of people who would be allowed to enter a business or a venue based on its size. At the moment, no such limits or caps on gatherings have been issued, but the Health Ministry is considering recommending them, Ash said in a press briefing. “The situation is worrisome,” he said.
The coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet in the coming days to discuss the situation.
Some 1.5% of patients are deteriorating into a serious state of health, or about half the figure before vaccines were available, Alroy-Preis said. However, the number of seriously ill patients has been doubling every 10 days, she said.
The full Green Pass system came back into effect on Sunday. It requires a vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative test to access various venues, including restaurants, cultural events and gyms.
The goal is to slow down morbidity to buy time to vaccinate more people, Alroy-Preis said.
While authorities have been struggling to persuade younger people who have not been inoculated to do so, the response among the over-60s has been considered very positive.
As of Monday night, with more than 600,000 people vaccinated for the third time, there were fewer than 50 reported cases of side effects, and all were considered to be mild, the Health Ministry reported.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz met with healthcare providers to discuss accelerating the pace of vaccination.
Starting Tuesday, the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions is supposed to be significantly increased, with hundreds of police officers being devoted to enforcing them.
The Health Ministry presented the coronavirus cabinet with a new outline for travel restrictions late Sunday night.
All countries that are not explicitly listed as red (under a travel ban) or yellow will from August 16 require travelers entering Israel to isolate for a minimum of seven days even if they are vaccinated or recovered, according to the new system.
Last week’s decision that inbound travelers from the US, France, Greece and many other countries must fully isolate upon their return starting from Wednesday remains in place.
According to the outline, also on August 16, the UK, South Africa, Russia and several other countries are to be taken off the list of nations considered at the highest risk for infection.
Israelis are not allowed to travel to red countries without special permission from the government panel, while those who return must self-isolate for a minimum of seven days regardless of their immunization status.
The list currently includes Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and Uzbekistan.
The new list of banned countries is set to feature only Bulgaria, Brazil, Georgia, Mexico, Spain and Turkey.
From August 16, only Hong Kong, Hungary, Taiwan, Moldova, New Zealand, China, Singapore and the Czech Republic will be considered yellow countries, which do not require full quarantine.
Vaccinated or recovered individuals returning from yellow countries are only required to take a PCR swab test upon their return and wait in quarantine until a negative test result is received or 24 hours have passed, whichever comes first.
Unvaccinated people must always self-isolate when entering Israel, regardless of where they traveled.
The list of countries and their statuses are updated periodically by the Health Ministry in accordance with morbidity data. An up-to-date list appears on the Health Ministry website.
The new list of countries will go into effect on August 16 following approval of the new criteria created by the ministry by the relevant Knesset committee. At that time, all countries that are not explicitly listed as red or yellow will be considered orange.
The current list of orange countries under a severe travel warning includes Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As decided last week, several new countries will be added on Wednesday: Botswana, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Eswatini (Swaziland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malawi, Netherlands, Rwanda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine and the US.
The new lists of countries published by the ministry still need to be approved by the coronavirus cabinet, Alroy-Preis told the Knesset the Law and Constitution Committee.
“The idea of the new model is to identify countries that are at very great risk to us, based on whether they have variants that we do not want to enter Israel, how much traffic comes from them and what the variants’ entry into Israel is expected to be,” she said.
“The model weighs all these factors and creates a score,” Alroy-Preis added. “The list was reduced from 14 countries to six countries, and if approved, it will be presented to you next week. The goal is how to reduce travel to the minimum necessary and identify safer countries.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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