August 18, 2022

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COVID Czar Optimistic about Sixth Wave Receding

2 min read

This week, a new COVID sub-variant was discovered in Israel, but Salman Zarka was still calm on Monday. The coronavirus czar suggested that the sixth ongoing wave of the virus in Israel could actually come to an end soon.

Masks may not be necessary

Two weeks earlier, the COVID czar had urged the public to start wearing masks indoors again. Zarka had also said that health officials were considering reintroducing the mask mandate once more. But now, he believes that this may not be necessary at all.

He stated that since we are living alongside the virus, there is no need to obligate people. The indoor face mask requirement had been cancelled in the country back in April, after it had remained mandatory for about two years. There was only a two-week period in 2021 when the requirement had been lifted.

No worries about the new cases

On Sunday, three new cases had been diagnosed in Israel of the new BA2.75 variant, but Zarka still maintained a positive outlook. He did add that it was a ‘cause for concern’ when a new variant is discovered and they need to be cautious when they are unsure about its aggressiveness and transmissibility.

The variant is relatively new and has been given the nickname ‘Centaurus’. It has also been discovered in other countries as well, which include the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands.

As the government put an end to mandatory PCR testing for travelers arriving at the Ben Gurion airport back in May, it has become a bit difficult for the government to accurately assess the total number of active cases in the country. Likewise, it has also become difficult to identify any new variants coming into the country.

Zarka stated that the Health Ministry’s estimates showed that there were between 30 and 100 cases of the new variant already in Israel.

COVID numbers

As far as daily COVID case numbers are concerned, they have continued to see a drop. On Sunday, the total number of cases diagnosed were around 7,976, which was a fall from 12,252 cases that had been confirmed two weeks back. There was a 31% positivity rate and the transmission number was down to 0.87, which shows that the current wave is in decline.

While the number of daily cases may be declining, the data from the Health Ministry showed on Sunday that the total number of people hospitalized due to serious condition is 456. This is the highest figure that has been recorded in the sixth wave.

However, Zarka predicted that the coming week will see a decline in the number of daily cases as well as that of seriously ill patients. Two weeks earlier, the Health Ministry had given approval for the vaccines to be administered to children between six months and five years. But, Zarka asserted that these shots have not been rolled out as yet, as they have not received the correct-sized doses that are reduced for safety purposes.

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