A spokesman for the Prime Minister disclosed that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is going into quarantine after his daughter tests positive for the coronavirus. He had to leave the cabinet meeting on Sunday on Golan Heights after he received news of his daughter’s positive test. The spokesperson said that he will also self-isolate until he gets a negative PCR test. He had taken a rapid antigen test before attending the meeting and had tested negative. His 14-year daughter had gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 back in June. Earlier Sunday, his office had revealed that one of their employees had tested positive in a rapid test that had been required from all those attending the meeting.
The employee had immediately been put into quarantine and had not come into contact with the prime minister, or any other ministers for that matter. Other employees who had also come in contact with the infected employee had tested negative but had not been permitted to attend the cabinet meeting for exercising caution. Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister, had also entered into quarantine, as her daughter tested positive for the coronavirus. Health and government officials have warned that the new highly-infections Omicron variant is leading to the fifth wave of infections and case numbers are expected to increase rapidly in the next few weeks.
As of Saturday, the total number of Omicron cases in Israel had reached 1,118 since the variant had first been identified. The prime minister has been urging Israeli parents to vaccinate their children in order to mitigate the expected surge in morbidity due to the Omicron variant. On Friday, at least 5,905 Israelis had gotten their first dose of the vaccine, most of whom were between the ages of 5 and 11. So far, the first dose has been given to about 14% of children in this age group, which is around 185,000. Bennett’s aim had been to inoculate about half a million children by the end of December.
However, parents have been slow to make appointments. As authorities are trying to curb the spread of the virus, new rules were introduced for the education system. Students of grades 7 to 12 in communities categorized as ‘orange’ and ‘red’ were only allowed to attend classes in person if one dose of the vaccine has been administered to 70% of the students. Under the ‘traffic light’ plan, every municipality in Israel is given a score between 0 and 10, which depends on several factors.
This includes the rate of positive tests in every town, the number of new cases, and the rate of increase in the new cases. General color is awarded to each locality and the education system is given a separate classification. According to the figures provided by the Health Ministry, the positive test rate had risen above 2% on Sunday, which is the first time since October 7th. The total number of tests conducted on Saturday was 44,538 and of these 2.07% had come positive. The ‘R’ number is also increasing and has now reached 1.41.