Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday night held an assessment of the situation regarding the new spread of the coronavirus, concluding that Israel is facing a real threat from the spread of the Delta (a.k.a. Indian) variant throughout the world, visits by Israelis to red countries, and the fact that many Israelis who return from abroad are not strictly adhering to the quarantine directives.
The team of epidemiological experts in the health ministry now recommends a sweeping Corona vaccination for 12-15-year-olds. According to Kan 11 News, in response to the outbreaks in the towns of Modi’in and Binyamina, Corona Czar Professor Nachman Ash said in internal discussions: “We may need to change the recommendation for vaccinating children – we may move to a stronger recommendation for children. We don’t want to be too late when there have already been many outbreaks.”
The PM’s meeting included the Health, Interior, Transportation, Public Security, and Education Ministers, the deputy head of the National Security Council, the Attorney General, and senior officials in the participating ministries.
In recent days, there has been a significant jump in the number of passengers traveling through Ben Gurion Airport, from about 4,000 passengers a day in May, to more than 30,000 passengers daily in recent days. These numbers are expected to double in July.
In light of the above, Prime Minister Bennett approved the following recommendations of the professional staff:
- Increased enforcement of the quarantine for those returning from abroad – designating 250 police officers for enforcement, for a limited time
- Establishing a testing facility at Ben-Gurion International Airport – government approval of a proposal
- Significantly increasing the number of testing stands at Ben-Gurion International Airport
- A targeted information campaign to underscore the importance of maintaining the quarantine directives by those returning from abroad
- Filling out a departing passenger form and signing a declaration before boarding the plane to verify non-arrival to the six high-risk countries: Argentina, Russia, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil
- A ban on travel to high-risk countries except with advance permission by an exceptions committee. These countries include India, Brazil, and Mexico
Prime Minister Bennett also directed:
- To undertake staff work to evaluate the absence of accord between the number of violations of quarantine by those returning from abroad and the number of fines imposed in practice (responsibility of the National Security Council)
- To consider imposing fines on the parents of children who violate quarantine in the framework of the coronavirus law (responsibility of the Attorney General)
- Establishing readiness ahead of the possibility of an additional outbreak of morbidity (responsibility of the Health Ministry)