Israel will cut the compulsory quarantine period for individuals diagnosed with coronavirus who no longer display symptoms from ten to just seven days despite the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the country’s top health official said on Tuesday.
According to Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, COVID-19 patients will be able to step out of quarantine after just seven days given they have not experienced any symptoms for at least three days.
Patients still experiencing symptoms, however, will have to see out the full ten-day quarantine period.
The Health Ministry said that the move, which will take effect midnight Thursday, was based on a study of some 80 Omicron patients which showed there was only a 6% chance to spread the virus after a week.
"This decision will help the economy continue to operate even amid high infection rates, all while maintaining public health," said Prof. Ash.
Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej told Ynet earlier on Tuesday the government should openly admit to the public it has adopted a strategy of mass infections with the aim of reaching herd immunity.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in response that Israel was managing its coronavirus outbreak better than almost anywhere else around the world.
"We're going towards an imminent wave. There isn't a single democratic country in the world that can avoid this wave," he said. "Grandma in the nursing home will only be able to see one visitor in the coming weeks. The situation in Israel is managed better than almost anywhere in the world."