The coronavirus pandemic in Israel will soon be officially over.
Hebrew media reported on Monday evening that for the first time on January 18 the Home Front Command's COVID testing facilities will be closed and the COVID tests will be transferred to the health care services and it will be their responsibility.
Then on January 31, according to the Kan News report, the coronavirus will considered a viral disease similar to the flu. The control center for the pandemic will be closed and at this stage, according to the plan, there will no longer be a need for isolation for Covid patients.
Heath care services protested the new schedule, asking for more time and a budget, as well as more instructions in writing.
All of this is assuming that the next government to be sworn in on Thursday will adopt this plan for ending the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel.
Downgrading COVID to the flu level was the aim all along, said Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of the Laboratory of Immunotherapy at Bar Ilan University. He described the goal as to get to an "endemic" stage of the virus when the disease is spreading at a normal or expected level.
"We are hoping that our health care system can cope with these winter infections, including COVID," Cohen said.
Cohen described the de facto reality on the ground with most of the public already moving on from the pandemic with less mask-wearing and many people not getting tested.
"We are more in a scenario where we are behaving like any other viral disease in the winter."
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.