פרופ' רן בליצר
Prof. Ran Balicer, the head of the advisory board for the coronavirus cabinet
Photo: Ynet
Health officials oppose reopening of shopping centers

Virus expert slams government for repeating 'trick' of reopening against advice

Prof. Ran Balicer also tells Ynet it's painful to see some Israelis refusing to get vaccinated despite the country being a leader in vaccination drive; he says one in 30 people who get infected, develop serious complications

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 02.15.21, 11:12
Prof. Ran Balicer, the head of the advisory board for the coronavirus cabinet, said Monday the government already tried the "trick" of reopening the economy in spite of health officials' advice and it always ended in a fresh infection spike.
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  • The coronavirus cabinet is set to convene later in the day to continue discussing the implementation of the "Green Pass" outline that allows the reopening of almost all economy sectors to Israelis who have received both vaccine shots.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    הקניונים והחנויות פתוחות בזמן התלבטויות קבינט הקורונה- משרד הבריאות ממליץ לסגור| המל"ל מתנגד: לפתוח עוד קניונים
    הקניונים והחנויות פתוחות בזמן התלבטויות קבינט הקורונה- משרד הבריאות ממליץ לסגור| המל"ל מתנגד: לפתוח עוד קניונים
    Health officials oppose reopening of shopping centers
    (Photo: Gilad Cohen, Riki Carmi, Ido Erez)
    "The government has twice tried the trick of ignoring the recommendations of the Health Ministry, opening up not in a gradual manner and hoping it will end well," Balicer told Ynet.
    "Both times it did not end so well, the disease spiraled out of control and never did we try to go out [of a lockdown] with 5,000 new infections a day and hope for the best," he said, referring to Israel's current average of daily COVID-19 cases.
    The Green Pass outline includes three stages, with the first stage beginning on Feb. 23 and the third scheduled to be implemented on March 9 and includes the reopening of indoor and outdoor dining.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    פרופ' רן בליצר
    פרופ' רן בליצר
    Prof. Ran Balicer, the head of the advisory board for the coronavirus cabinet
    (Photo: Ynet)
    Balicer told Ynet the timetable for reopening looks to be extremely rushed and not thought through.
    "It's a matter of risk management, If I had to decide, I would say two weeks between each phase because the next phase set to be massive and significant and only a week [after the first stage]."
    The professor also urged the public to get vaccinated especially in light of the Israeli research that showed a reduction of 94% in the rate of symptomatic infection and a reduction of 92% in the rate of serious illness among those who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
    "This is the country that has the greatest accessibility to vaccines in the world today, and I have a hard time dealing with the fact that there are about 500,000 people aged 40-60 who have not been vaccinated - 30% of ventilated people are in this age group," Balicer said.
    "Once you get infected, one in 30 people will develop a serious illness."
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