Photo Credit: Yossi Aloni / Flash 90
Israelis stand in line for Covid19 vaccinations at a Health Center in Rehovot, January 26, 2021.

Sources in Israel’s Health Ministry expressed frustration with the country’s stubborn high morbidity, and told Kan 11 News Wednesday: “Our models and those of other specialists have collapsed. Everyone has predicted a decline in the number of serious patients but that is not happening yet.”

The Health Ministry also says that at the moment it is out of the question to allow residents of green and yellow communities to leave their lockdown while the red cities remain locked: “Regarding the traffic light distribution, most of the country is orange and red, therefore, even if the lockdown is extended by more than a week, there’s nothing to talk about regarding a differential closure, even if it’s only for limited activity.”


Dr. Orly Greenfeld, Medical Director at Magen Israel, the national plan to combat the coronavirus and to include multi-arms to treat the health crisis in Israel, said on Wednesday morning that morbidity figures show improvement, but too slowly.

In an interview with Reshet Bet radio, Dr. Greenfeld said that “as far as the serious patients are concerned, there is no decrease, but the situation is stagnant. The explanation for this is that the lockdown is probably not tight enough.”

These are the figures released by the Health Ministry on Wednesday morning: 7,737 new verified patients on Tuesday, based on 83,367 test results. You’ll note that while the number of new patients is a little down, so is the number of tests.

As of Wednesday morning there are 1,141 patients in serious condition, with 311 on respirators. The rate of deaths has increased somewhat and the current number of fatalities since the outbreak almost a year ago has risen to 4,513. 2,768,202 have received the first round of the vaccine, 1,377,803 received the second dose, too.

When the Transport Ministry stopped flights to and from Israel on the night between Monday and Tuesday, it brought an end to the dreadful saga of evacuation to quarantine hotels of Israelis returning from abroad. According to Haaretz, this was nothing short of a horror show, directed by members of the Health Ministry’s Exceptions Committee, which sits at Ben Gurion Airport.

“Every flight from Dubai that landed here was accompanied by riots,” attorney Chen Wondersman, the committee’s director, told Haaretz. “People refuse to go to hotels. They shout and curse, using phrases like ‘you are racist,’ ‘you are Nazis,’ sometimes even throwing chairs.”

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, anyone entering Israel from red countries has been forced to enter home isolation. Most Israelis treated this law as a recommendation, and about two-thirds of those returning to Israel gave up the isolation thing and continued with their normal routine immediately upon landing. In recent months, with the discovery of newer and more contagious variants of the virus, enforcing isolation on those landing from abroad has become a national mission – leading some returning Israelis to react in the expressly un-Swedish manner described above.

On Wednesday morning, the Health Ministry issued the following announcement via social networks:

A corona patient boarded a Delta flight DL235from Tel Aviv to New York on January 21 at 11:30, landing January 22 at 05:00 at JFK. All the passengers on that flight must remain in isolation and report on the Health Ministry’s website. The required isolation period is 14 days starting Jan. 21, 2021 to Feb. 4, 2021 inclusive. The isolation period can be shortened to 10 days, when the following conditions are met: report on home quarantine on the Health Ministry’s website, perform two tests for Corona – first test soon and second test on the ninth day, Jan. 30, 2021. If both tests are negative, send an SMS about taking an isolation shortcut.

Mind you, this message to presumably hundreds of Israeli passengers who have landed in New York six days ago and are so outside the real control of Israeli authority it makes us cry, was delivered with the seriousness and attention to detail of a mad AI.

Reshet Bet radio reported Wednesday morning that the State of Israel will be subsidizing one daily departing flight for Israelis who are allowed to leave the country—in keeping with in the Sky Closure Regulations or with the approval of the Exceptions Committee. In a discussion held between the National Security Council and the Ministries of Health and Transport, it was agreed in principle that this would be a flight to a major destination in Europe, most likely Germany or France, where many airlines maintain their international hubs.

According to the agreement, the state will conduct a bid among the three Israeli airlines and one of them will be chosen to operate the daily flight. The state will pledge to bear the cost of the flight, which is estimated at $20,000 one way, deducting $300 for each passenger who buys a ticket from the company.

OK, so one Israeli airline will finally be out of hock – but what about the other two?


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