On Wednesday, Nachman Ash, the Director-General of the Health Ministry, expressed optimism over the continuous fall in COVID-19 morbidity within Israel. He said that the decline in morbidity was clear, but they did want to see what impact opening schools would have on the numbers. He added that if the numbers continued to fall, then it would be clear that the country is coming out of the fourth wave of the virus. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke regarding the decline and said that school kids should be exempted from quarantine in cities where they have low infection rates and it was better to conduct tests in classes.
Bennett said that the move would start from next week, thanks to the government’s navigation of this fourth wave of the coronavirus and their rethinking. Speaking to the team of experts who advise the government about its COVID-19 policy, he said that he wanted them to give him solutions that could give peace of mind to parents sending their children to school and going to work. The premier said that they wanted to end the uncertainty and adapt to the decline in morbidity, but also ensure that mass infections don’t happen, which means a delicate balance has to be maintained.
Salman Zarka, the coronavirus czar, who is leading the country’s efforts to battle the pandemic said that some of the Green Pass restrictions could also be eased by the Health Ministry. Zarka said that there was a significant improvement as per the morbidity data, which means that some restrictions like those applicable to pools and restaurants can be eased. He said that professional considerations dictated they make it easier on the public. However, he did add that the third wave had shown how wrong it was to get rid of the masks and open them fully.
According to Zarka, the virus doesn’t play by any rules, so there is no way to say there wouldn’t be a fifth wave. This week, the coronavirus cabinet ruled that new Green Pass requirements would be enforced from Thursday onwards. Under the new rules, businesses and venues needing a Green Pass have to scan the QR codes on the permits before they grant access to the holders. The comments of Zarka on Wednesday indicate that some of these places may not have to check the Green Pass of the entrants. The restrictions may be eased by Cabinet ministers.
Tuesday saw the number of patients in serious condition due to the coronavirus fall below 500 for the first time in the last two months. On Wednesday morning, the total number of active infections was around 35,876 and Health Ministry figures showed that 2,502 cases had been diagnosed on Tuesday. The positivity rate was 2.32%, which is the lowest since July. As far as the R number is concerned, which is the virus’ reproduction rate, it was around 0.78, which indicates waning infections. There have been 7,855 deaths and 1,297,726 infections since the beginning of the pandemic in the country.