Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Knesset
Israel's Health Ministry's chief of public health services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis appeared before the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, October 24, 2021.

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s chief of public health services, on Sunday told the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee: “Right now the expectation is that the downward morbidity trend will continue, and we will see fewer verified cases by the day. We expect to see less than 1,000 new cases daily, and therefore the Health Ministry is preparing to present the government with a plan for exiting this wave, as was the case in the previous waves.”

However, Dr. Alroy-Preis noted: “We are concerned that vaccine-resistant variants could arrive from other countries. The risk of renewed morbidity comes from people who had not been vaccinated and from new variants,” she said.

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The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, chaired by MK Gilad Kariv (Labor) on Sunday approved the extension by another 60 days, until December 23, of the declaration of a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. Under the Major Corona Law, the Government may declare a 45-day state of emergency due to the coronavirus. It can then extend the state of emergency by 60 days, with the committee’s approval.

The committee also approved regulations for the various revisions to the Green Pass and extended the requirement by another two weeks. Under the regulations, road tests, marathons, and other races, such as bicycle races or swim meets, will be subject to Green Pass restrictions.

On Sunday, 810 Israelis tested positive for the Corona, out of 80,684 people who were tested – exactly 1%. As of Monday there are 279 critical Corona, of whom 150 are on respirators. A total of 8,049 died since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Dr. Alroy-Preis told the committee: “Dozens of infected people return from abroad every day, most of them unvaccinated, some of them with a vaccine older than six months, some recently vaccinated with a booster or two vaccines received within the previous six months. In many countries, there is a new increase in morbidity both from a lack of vaccines, because the vaccines lose efficacy or because of the risk that a variant will emerge against which the vaccine is not effective anymore.”

Regarding the Green Pass, Dr. Alroy-Preis said “The high level of morbidity, according to estimations abroad, is not only the result of the new variant. It is also the result of the lifting of restrictions, and one of the ways to reduce contact between people is the Green Pass.”

Dr. Alroy-Preis shared with the committee that the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the coronavirus vaccines for children. Following the approval, the Israeli Health Ministry will decide on vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11, she said, adding “We must take into account that for the child who will be vaccinated it will be a month before he/she is protected.”

Committee Chair MK Kariv praised the coalition government for reaching “a balanced approach to the handling of the pandemic, and a balancing of the risks.”​

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.