Nachman Ash
Nachman AshYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Coronavirus Czar Prof. Nachman Ash gave a media briefing this afternoon (Thursday) in which he expressed great concern about the continuation of the upward trend in coronavirus morbidity.

"The number of verified is reaching new highs every day. The numbers are high, the situation is worrying. The Cabinet yesterday approved a number of measures that we hope will lead to the halting of the rise in morbidity. I fear aggravation despite these measures," Ash said.

He also addressed the possibility that people under the age of 60 would receive a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. "Tonight the combined vaccine team and epidemic treatment team will hold an important professional discussion to decide how to extend the third vaccines to different ages. It is clear to all of us how sensitive and complex such a decision is and we understand that the third dose provides another layer of protection. We therefore want to examine the expansion of the provision of the third dose to younger ages. This examination will be carried out professionally and seriously."

"The response to the provision of the third dose to people aged 60 and over is high. So far we have vaccinated more than 700,000 people, but there is still a long way to go regarding this population and there are another million people who did not receive the first vaccine," said Ash, noting that even vaccinated people who were in contact with a verified patient need to go and get tested for fear of being infected despite receiving the vaccine.

Ash turned to the public and asked them to pay extra attention to the government's instructions. "Let's act responsibly - none of us are interested in a lockdown or other difficult steps. We want to get to a point where the morbidity is halted, the school year opens and our life routine continues as usual. We all want that. To succeed in that - your mobilization is required. First and foremost - get vaccinated. The vaccines are available, the queues are wide and fairly immediate. We need to take advantage of that, the vaccine is our most effective means. We are at a critical point in time."

He noted that the morbidity in the haredi sector worries the Health Ministry. "We are seeing an increase in morbidity at a high rate. I call on people in the haredi cities to adhere to the guidelines."

Prof. Ash also addressed the question of prayers on the High Holidays. "An outline is being formulated that will also allow safe prayers. There is no doubt that something needs to be done that will allow the security of those who come to pray. That is why we have set the guidelines of the green pass for synagogues. We will come out with an orderly outline in the coming days. I call on those who travel to Uman to follow the guidelines there as well, and I recommend to those who are not vaccinated - not to travel to Uman."