The struggle in Corona: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is holding an urgent meeting today (Friday) with senior Ministry of Health officials to discuss how to deal with the fact that a person infected with a new variant that was discovered and spread in South Africa has been identified in Israel. In his opening remarks, Bennett said: “We are currently on the verge of an emergency. I ask everyone to be fully prepared and harnessed for work around the clock.” The Corona Cabinet is expected to convene at the end of Saturday to discuss further and confirm the decisions made.
It should be noted that in addition to the patient verified for the new variant, there are three other carriers suspected of having contracted the South African strain. The Ministry of Health informed us that the verified new strain, traveling from Malawi, got stuck and had difficulty obtaining it despite efforts, but the police updated that she was located at noon in Eilat and transferred to the Home Front Command.
Bennett stressed during the hearing that “a few weeks ago, when we did the ‘Omega’ national exercise for a new lethal variant scenario, it would have seemed a bit detached. Needless to say, this is one of the most significant moves that has prepared us exactly for the situation we are now in. In the evening, we returned to the insights from the exercise and began to apply quickly. “
The Prime Minister referred to the contagious nature of the new variant and noted that “the new variant is highly contagious, at a much faster rate than the Delta. We are currently feeding on the South African health system, which is doing a very impressive job, but we do not yet have the full information. Very fast – we will know if the variant really breaks out in immunity, at what rate, whether it is more lethal or not, how it affects children, etc.
Bennett explained that he was updated on the presence of the variant carrier during the night, and said the situation was disturbing. “Our overriding principle at the moment is to act quickly, strongly and now. Especially when it comes to entering and leaving Israel, until the situation becomes clear. When it becomes clear, we will decide what we do.”
Earlier today, the Ministry of Health updated that the variant that was discovered and spread in African countries – B.1.1529 – was first identified in Israel. This is a person who returned from Malawi, who was not at all on the list of red countries, and was diagnosed as positive. In addition, there are suspicions of two more cases of returnees from abroad who are currently awaiting the results of their flooring and have been sent for isolation. The concern is that the new strain may be more contagious and even resistant to vaccines.
The Prime Minister noted in a discussion held earlier today that the Israeli government is acting quickly and decisively in light of the conclusions drawn following the Omega national exercise, which will take place in various situations for the emergence of new variants.
Decisions made at this stage:
African countries – including Mauritius, the Seychelles and Madagascar – with the exception of North African countries, will be defined as red countries and the entry of foreigners into Israel from these countries will be banned.
The Home Front Command will locate all those arriving from African countries in the past week, and will instruct them to remain in isolation immediately, while at the same time conducting home sampling.
– Any person who has stayed in African countries, even if he has arrived in Israel from another destination, will be called to immediately proceed to perform a PCR test after which he will enter isolation until a result is obtained.
– Purchase of 10 million PCR kits tailored to closely identify the new variant will be purchased. Mapmi, the company in charge of the tests at Ben Gurion Airport, said delays in the test results were expected due to the formation of a load on the laboratory. The announcement came because according to the Ministry of Health’s instructions Worked regularly.
– Pilot Installation of HEPA filters – As part of the pilot, air filters will be installed in about two weeks in hundreds of classrooms and in 100 kindergartens throughout the country.
The sewer sampling procedure throughout the country will be accelerated, in order to detect latent morbidity in the new variant.
Meanwhile, earlier today the Ministry of Health published a picture of the spread of the corona virus in Israel, which shows that 524 new carriers were identified in Israel yesterday, constituting 0.69 percent of 81,468 new tests performed.
The coefficient of infection, the R, currently stands at 1.08, a decrease of 0.01 less than the peak of 1.09. The number of active carriers in Israel stands at 7,037 people, including 120 patients who are hospitalized and their condition is defined as serious. Of the severe patients there are 72 respirators. This is a significant decrease in the number of respirators.
The number of deaths as a result of the disease currently stands at 8,182 people.
Participated in the preparation of the article: Assaf Golan
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