Sheba Medical Center physician receives a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine as part of a study to determine efficacy and safety

Israel reinstates mask mandate outdoors, approves 4th dose of COVID vaccine

Top health official says decision to administer additional dose to the vulnerable population is based on early data; says daily assessment to determine offer to additional sectors of the public; Mask mandate in effect as of midnight Thursday

Sivan Hilaie |
Updated: 12.30.21, 19:54
Director General of the Health Ministry Professor Nachman Ash on Wednesday announced a mask mandate outdoors where more than 50 people are congregated, as of midnight on Thursday.
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  • Ash announced his decision in a press conference given by Health Minister NItzan Horowitz and top ministry officials.
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    פרופסור יעקב ג'יי לביא מתחסן במנה רביעית לקורונה
    פרופסור יעקב ג'יי לביא מתחסן במנה רביעית לקורונה
    Sheba Medical Center physician receives a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine as part of a study to determine efficacy and safety
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The announcement came as a surprise and a renewal of a mask mandate in outdoor settings was not raised publicly in recent months.
    Ash also approved the administration of a fourth COVID vaccine for the population at risk.
    "The decision is based on early data from research that is being conducted, and in light of the concerns for the health of the most vulnerable in the population," Ashe said.
    "We will consider vaccination of more of the public as we assess on a daily basis, the danger of increased serious morbidity," he said.
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    מסיבת עיתונאים משרד הבריאות
    מסיבת עיתונאים משרד הבריאות
    Dir. Gen of the Health Ministry Nachman Ash announcing decision to offer 4th coronavirus vaccine to vulnerable Israelis, on Thursday
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)
    Horowitz said Israel had taken the necessary steps to deal with the Omicron wave in advance and is therefore prepared for any scenario. "Everything is under control," he said.
    The minister also urged Israelis to take precautions to avoid infection from the fast spreading Omicron variant during New Year celebrations.
    "This is a personal responsibility," he said. "We cannot and will not send a policeman after every person. Be mindful of your health and that of those around you," he said.
    Coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said that the Delta variant of COVID was still present in Israel alongside the Omicron.
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    מתחם בדיקות קורונה בראשון לציון
    מתחם בדיקות קורונה בראשון לציון
    Testing for coronavirus at a drive-through site in Rishon Lezion on Thursday
    (Photo: Yuval Chen)
    "We may be able to say next week, where each variant is spreading but will consider this fifth wave a combination of both," Zarka said.
    "We are seeing a distinct rise of an additional 2,000 confirmed cases daily as we expected and a rise in hospitalizations. The virus does not care if you are celebrating the new year or a religious festival, so I recommend that those at risk especially, stay away from crowded events," he said.
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    תרופות של פייזר לקורונה נחתו בישראל
    תרופות של פייזר לקורונה נחתו בישראל
    Pfizer's coronavirus medication arrives in Israel on Thursday
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)

    The first shipment of the Pfizer coronavirus medication arrived in Israel earlier. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Pfizer's Paxlovid is an important addition to Israel's tool box in the fight against the pandemic.


    First published: 19:08, 12.30.21
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