The latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

Israel will add the United States, Canada and Germany to its no-fly list

Israel will add 10 more countries, including the United States and Canada, to its “red” list of no-fly zones as it prepares for a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections.

Subject to ministerial approval, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey will be added to the “red” list at midnight on Tuesday. The list already includes a lot of African countries, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

“Time is running out,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “The wave is coming. Every family must prepare, every person must make sure they are vaccinated with three vaccines, and that their children are vaccinated.”

On Saturday evening, it was announced that Bennett had canceled the annual Sunday night reception with journalists, diplomats and others, “due to growing concern over a possible new wave of coronavirus in Israel.”

In the meantime, the country is intensifying its campaign to vaccinate children, and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz told Radio Kan that this week it will “invade” the education system, doubling the number of vaccination centers in schools by 10 centers to reach 500. He added that there is some evidence that the effectiveness of the booster vaccine have decreased, and that a fourth dose of vaccination may be necessary, especially for the elderly.

In an effort to stem the spread of the omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly, Israel has banned most foreigners from entering the country.

Israelis are mostly banned from visiting the “red” list countries; Travelers returning from them must self-isolate for seven days, first in quarantine hotels and then, upon receiving a negative PCR test, at home, provided they sign a contract agreeing to track their movements.

Despite these measures, the number of cases of Covid-19 infection in Israel is increasing, with another 875 cases recorded on Friday, the highest number in at least a month, before declining to 372 on Saturday, due to the decrease in the number of tests. during the weekend. (In late summer, infections peaked at more than 10,000 per day.) Severe cases increased by one to 81. Less than three months ago, at the height of the fourth wave, it exceeded 750 cases.

More context: The number of people who contract the omicron variant also continues to grow. According to the Ministry of Health, 134 people have already been identified as having the variant, compared to 89 just a few days ago.

There is “high suspicion” of omicron in more than 300 additional cases. The R-factor, the number of people infected per person with covid-19, remains just over one, the limit it crossed over a month ago.

“If what happens in Europe happens here, we will see how the infection doubles every two or three days,” Dr. Eran Segal, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, told Channel 12 in Israel.

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