Coronavirus: 1,400 new cases as cabinet postponed again

The meeting of the coronavirus cabinet appeared to have been postponed again on Wednesday, as Israel registered some 1,400 new cases the day before.

As the number of new virus carriers continue to climb, the ministers have been supposed to meet in order to discuss and approve new measures to counter what many experts by now call the fourth wave.

However, a date and time for the meeting has not been set up yet. Israeli media reported that it was going to happen on Tuesday night, but it was then postponed to Wednesday. In an interview to Ynet in the morning, Health Ministry’s Director General Prof. Nachman Ash said that the cabinet is now supposed to convene on Thursday morning.

“We will go when they call us,” he added.

Reportedly, the reason why the ministers do not convene is the deep disagreements among its members about where the country should go next.

During the meeting last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz asked their colleagues to approve the return of the green pass for all indoors gatherings with over 100 participants – restricting access to them only to individuals vaccinated, recovered or equipped with a negative tests performed in the previous 72 hours. Ultimately, their request was rejected and the cabinet approved similar requirements only for weddings and events where food is served.

In light of the spike in cases, the full green pass is expected to be approved this week, but disagreements remain, while Bennett and Horowitz have been meeting with representatives of the industries to which the green pass is expected to apply in order to receive their input on how to minimize any negative impact on businesses.

One of the question marks about the outline is whether the tests will be funded by the state or by the individual citizen, especially in the case of children who are too young to be vaccinated.

Horowitz addressed the issue speaking to the Knesset plenum and said that topic is still being examined.

On the other hand, tests for children to monitor the situations in schools will be covered by the country.

In the interview with Ynet, Ash said that he expects the cabinet to also discuss the question of the airport.

Some 10% of the new cases registered every day are people who returned from abroad, in spite of the fact that everyone is required to present a negative PCR test before boarding (in addition to the one that all travelers must take upon their arrival in Israel before leaving Ben-Gurion).

Ash noted that they are working on two proposals, either to demand everyone from fly back to enter isolation or to expand the list of countries that are banned or that require also vaccinated and recovered individuals to enter isolation – which is already going to be expanded on Friday.

Israel had not registered over 1,400 cases since March and the reproduction rate, or R – which measures how many people each virus carrier infects on average – has been steadily over 1 for the past few weeks, indicating that the outbreak continues to expand.

In addition, some twenty people have succumbed to the virus in July. While the number is still only a fraction of the deaths registered at the peak of the pandemic in January, when dozens of people sometimes died of COVID in a single day – the figure is more than double the victims recorded in June.

On the other hand, the increase in serious morbidity has remained limited.

If around mid-June there were some 20 patients in serious conditions with less than 200 active cases in the whole country, currently the number stands at 63 with some 9,000 active cases. The figure even marks a slight increase compared to the 62 such patients registered 24 hours before, but a slight decrease compared to the peak of the fourth wave of 66 serious patients registered on Sunday.

Read More: Coronavirus: 1,400 new cases as cabinet postponed again

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