Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accepted the Health Ministry’s recommendation to postpone from April 1 to May 1 the easing of COVID restrictions.
Israel is postponing the removal of additional corona regulations by a month, moving the date to May 1 instead of the originally agreed upon April 1.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz held a consultation on Thursday with the heads of Israel’s healthcare providers and other relevant government bodies regarding the recent uptick in corona cases and the spread of the BA.2 variant
Bennett accepted the Health Ministry’s request to postpone from April 1 to May 1 downgrading Israel’s corona policy to a “between the waves” format.
Instead, Bennett decided to retain the Home Front Command and Health Ministry command centers, the corona regulations in schools and municipalities, and the testing efforts. These include sewage monitoring, the purchase of antigen test kits, and supplying schools with air filters.
The healthcare providers presented Bennett with a new plan called “Whoever Saves,” based on the Talmudic passage that “whoever saves a life is considered as if he saved an entire world.”
Launched on Thursday, the plan’s goal is to increase vaccination among those age 60 and over by providing the healthcare providers with incentives to reach higher vaccination rates by sending out text messages, conducting a mainstream and social media campaign, and more.
According to Health Ministry data, 94% of deaths from Omicron were people over 60. Those over 60 who are not vaccinated are only 5% of all unvaccinated Israelis, but 40% of the deaths were from this group.
The plan mentioned how studies have shown that a third vaccine, and a fourth vaccine given four months after the third, significantly decrease the chance of serious illness or death.
SMS messages will be sent to the 120,000 over the age of 60 who have not been vaccinated at all, or to the 92,000 who have not received the third vaccine.
Bennett was also provided with a comprehensive plan in case of a new variant, including quickly closing the sky and border crossings in order to prevent its entrance into Israel.
Exactly 13,603 people tested positive for corona on Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry, with 19.08% testing positive out 71,291 tests taken throughout the day. There were 301 corona patients listed in serious condition, 130 of whom are intubated. The death toll stood at 10,455. The R number rose to 1.42.