Coronavirus cabinets extend restrictions on public gatherings by two more weeks

In the context of the resurgence of COVID-19 morbidity and the launch of Israel’s vaccine launch for children ages 5 to 11, the coronavirus cabinet met Tuesday night for the first time in nearly two months and ruled Leave existing restrictions on public meetings in place for two more weeks.

Opening the meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on his ministers to support the growing push for vaccines for children and to refrain from making statements that could hamper the country’s vaccination efforts.

“It is very important that we support this measure. There is no pressure at this time to start issuing incentives or implementing the Green Pass,” the prime minister said, referring to a document that grants access to public places for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently recovered from it. “We are only focusing on informing the public with maximum transparency at this time.”

Bennett also asked parents to screen their children for coronavirus before they return to school after the Hanukkah holiday in early December.

Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences, a scientist advising the government on its response to the pandemic, directed the panel’s attention to the country’s waning “total immunization,” a term that encompasses all citizens who have some protection. against the coronavirus, including the Israelis who have recovered. of the pathogen, those who received two doses of the vaccine less than six months ago or those inoculated with a booster vaccine.

Segal’s findings indicate that Israel began to see a decline in total immunization in May, when the effects of the country’s original vaccine launch began to wear off. Immunity levels rose again with the launch of the booster campaign and peaked after a few months, also due to high recovery rates from COVID-19. Immunization declined again in early November.

Segal cautioned that unless more people get vaccinated, immunization levels are expected to continue to decline in the coming months.

He also attributed the increase in morbidity to the increasingly lax application of health measures, as well as the increase in coronavirus infections among children, and more than half of recent new cases in Israel were among younger children. 12 years.

The Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, warned that although most children who contract coronavirus only end up developing mild symptoms, others become seriously ill and some younger patients even die from their complications. .

“The Ministry of Health monitors these cases, and multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (PIMS) is a condition that could even affect healthy children. There is evidence that COVID is affecting the brain and causing loss of taste and smell,” he said. .

Prime Minister Bennett added at the end that the state will not be able to reach many of those who choose not to get vaccinated, but warned that the relatively low number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients and those who are hooked up to ventilators in the country could still turn on. a dime.

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