Vaccinated Israelis from high-risk countries required to isolate – The Jerusalem Post

Israelis who return from countries with high levels of coronavirus infection will be required to enter isolation even if they are vaccinated or recovered, after 41 cases of the Indian variant, including four people who were already vaccinated, have been detected among Israelis.
A Health Ministry directive signed by Director-General Chezy Levy and published on Thursday afternoon is expected to take effect on Monday. The Health Ministry had been pushing to pass such a directive since Tuesday, but the government has failed to prioritize discussion on the matter.
The list of high-risk countries includes India, South Africa, Turkey, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Mexico and Brazil.
Levy said the ministry would stop outbound travel of Israelis to these seven countries.
Travelers who spend less than 12 hours in airport transit in one of these countries will be exempt but the Health Ministry said it wanted to remind the public to avoid unnecessary travel abroad. Levy said the ministry would stop outbound travel of Israelis to these seven countries.
Earlier in the day, the ministry announced 24 Indian variant carriers were identified among people who returned from abroad, while another 17 were infected in the country. Not all the local infections have been linked to the travelers.
Most of those infected entered from India but some have arrived via other countries. All those who arrived with the variant boarded their flights after recently testing negative for COVID-19.

Some 160 Israelis tested positive for COVID upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport, despite being vaccinated or recovered, Health Ministry data showed.
Included among those infected with the Indian variant are five children at five separate schools, the Health Ministry said. The schools are located in Ma’ale Adumim, Pardes Hannah, Holon and Ashdod.
The Ma’ale Adumim municipality sent a message to the community informing them of the infections. The message said these were two isolated cases of infection that occurred about two weeks ago, and no further active morbidity has since been recorded.
Head of Public Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said Thursday that rapid testing must be carried out in the schools to ensure there is no further spread of infection, but she encountered resistance from them.
“If we are not able to test as required, we will have to consider closing the school or part of it,” Alroy-Preis warned in a letter to the director-general of the Education Ministry. “Already yesterday, we turned to the professionals in your office in order to quickly coordinate the testing for schools this morning. Unfortunately, we encountered difficulties in cooperation.”
She wrote that the combination of a potentially dangerous variant, the fact that there have been recent outbreaks and the knowledge that 70% of children who become infected are asymptomatic requires rapid testing to make sure there is no hidden illness.
In general, infection remains low in schools. There were 484 cases of coronavirus among students and 23 among faculty, the Education Ministry reported Thursday.
There is a fear that the variant might be at least partially vaccine-resistant, although the Health Ministry stressed there is still no clear information regarding the Indian variant’s implications for vaccinated or recovered people.
Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, told The Jerusalem Post he believes it is too early to be overly alarmed by the variant.
He said the Pfizer vaccine is likely effective against the variant, at least to some extent, “because the key mutations in the spike protein are known mutations that appear in other variants, and we know that the vaccines are effective against them. So, we cannot be certain, but I think that it is quite likely that the vaccines will work on the Indian variant.”
In addition to the Indian variant, the ministry discovered eight new cases of the South African variant, seven of the New York one, two California, one of a new British variant and one from St. Petersburg.
The Health Ministry reminds the public to avoid unnecessary travel abroad.
In the meantime, the epidemiological situation in Israel continues to be encouraging.
For the past month, the reproduction rate (R) – which measures how many people each virus carrier infects on average – has remained stable at around 0.8, which indicates that the pandemic continues to recede.
Some 100 new cases were detected on Wednesday, with 0.3% of the 37,000 tests returning a positive result, according to a Thursday morning update by the ministry. The numbers are in line with previous days.
Moreover, serious patients and active cases dropped further to 118 and 1,570 – at the peak of the pandemic they stood respectively at 1,200 and over 75,000.

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Vaccinated Israelis from high-risk countries required to isolate – The Jerusalem Post

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