אנשים בבית קפה בירושלים
Israelis sit at a sidewalk cafe in Jerusalem after restrictions were lifted earlier this month
Photo: AFP
Israelis sit at a sidewalk cafe in Jerusalem after restrictions were lifted earlier this month

Virus taskforce chief: Many Israeli adults still unprotected against COVID

Prof. Ran Balicer says unvaccinated people make up to 98% of serious cases, warns that while he is overjoyed to see aspects of normal life increasingly returning, more people must get vaccinated against coronavirus as danger not yet over

Adir Yanko, Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 03.17.21 , 16:21
The head of Israel's national coronavirus taskforce warned Wednesday that a significant proportion of the country's adults were still vulnerable to COVID-19, stressing that unvaccinated people constituted almost all of the serious cases of the disease.
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  • "We are still seeing hundreds of serious cases of COVID-19 every week due to the fact that a quarter of the adult population is not yet protected, including those who received their second dose of the vaccine less than a week ago," Magen Israel chief Prof. Ran Balicer told Ynet.
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    אנשים בבית קפה בירושלים
    אנשים בבית קפה בירושלים
    Israelis sit at a sidewalk cafe in Jerusalem after restrictions were lifted earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP)
    Balicer said he was overjoyed to see more and more aspects of life returning to normal but warned that "we are not out of the woods yet."
    Israel has now lifted the majority of the restrictions imposed during its third lockdown that began in December including those on indoor dining, event halls and concerts, which are now open to Green Pass holders who have received both vaccine shots or people who have recovered from COVID-19.
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    רן בליצר
    רן בליצר
    Prof. Ran Balicer
    (Photo: Orel Cohen)
    Balicer said he was concerned about the spread of the South African variant of coronavirus in the country.
    "We have to prevent it from spreading further," he said. "It constitutes 1% of morbidity and we must make sure that does not increase," he said.
    "As far as we know it is not more contagious, at least no more than the British variant that is most prevalent, but it is still a cause of concern here and with my colleagues abroad," he said.
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    הנוחתים מארה"ב ללא צורך בועדת חריגים
    הנוחתים מארה"ב ללא צורך בועדת חריגים
    Israelis leaving Ben-Gurion Airport after returning to the country earlier this month
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    "Ben-Gurion International Airport should have in place an established method of testing, just like other countries have in order to prevent future variants from entering the country," Balicer said.
    "It's not rocket science. Other nations are dealing with this threat very well."
    Balicer also expressed concern over the failure of some Israelis to isolate when they return to the country.
    "We know not everyone complies with quarantine and other regulations," he said. "There must be a system of testing and quarantine in place to ensure that returning Israelis do not spread COVID-19 further."

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