Health Minister NItzan Horowitz
Health Minister NItzan HorowitzAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) on Thursday held a discussion focusing on the vaccination effort and continued dealing with the coronavirus.

The HMOs and the COVID taskforce presented the "Kol Hamatzil" campaign, which details a series of actions to increase vaccinations among those over 60 including, among other things, giving budgetary incentives to the HMOs in order to encourage vaccinations, initiated SMS messages, a media and social media campaign, and home vaccinations (if necessary). A separate announcement to this effect will be issued later on Thursday.

The Health Ministry, IDF Home Front Command, the Transportation Ministry and the Defense Ministry civil defense director also presented a comprehensive plan on dealing with the spread of a new and virulent coronavirus variant that includes among other things quickly closing the skies and border crossings in order to prevent the entry of future variants.

Prime Minister Bennett accepted the recommendation of the Health Ministry to extend the existing policy for dealing with the coronavirus and deferring entry into a "between the waves" routine from 1 April 2022 to 1 May 2022.

Pursuant to the foregoing, the activity of the IDF Home Front Command and Health Ministry command centers will continue, as well as that of those responsible for coronavirus policy at educational institutions and local authorities. Testing – including sewage monitoring, radar systems and the purchase of antigen kits – will also continue, as will the deployment of air filters in educational institutions.

Participating in the discussion were the directors general of the Health, Public Security, and Education ministries, the Defense Ministry civil defense director, the national coronavirus project manager, the Director of the Public Health Service, the Health Ministry Director of Public Health, the Deputy Director of the National Security Council, GOC Home Front Command, the directors general of the Maccabi, Leumit, Meuhedet, and Clalit HMOs, and additional professionals.