'People who have been vaccinated may also transmit the virus'

Dr. Orly Greenfeld warns against laxness in obeying restrictions by the vaccinated, calls for Purim restrictions.

Nitzan Keidar ,

Mahane Yehuda Market
Mahane Yehuda Market
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Dr. Orly Greenfeld, the medical director of Magen Israel, tells Arutz Sheva that without restrictions on Purim, there is a serious fear of a significant increase in the coronavirus morbidity levels.

"We saw in the previous Purim that there were many congregations and as a result there was also infection and outbreak of the plague. On this Purim we are in a different place from two aspects: there are many more vaccinated people, but also different mutations that infect at a much higher rate and any gathering and contact between people can lead to an outbreak," Greenfeld explains.

She says, "We are in a very delicate place in the balance between the vaccination and contagion and morbidity rates and need to keep the morbidity from rising. Even if there are many vaccinated - the same people who were vaccinated can still transmit the virus. Therefore, we need to be on guard this Purim so that we can continue to open and celebrate Passover in the way we hope."

In the last day there has been an increase in infection data after many days of declining numbers. Dr. Greenfeld is not surprised. "We know it stems from the opening of the lockdown last week. More people are meeting with each other and we are expecting another slight increase because of the opening of the economy this week. So we say, let's see what the effect of the opening is."

''We only see the effects after ten days, so we have to wait longer, go through Purim without gatherings, and not open the education system anymore. We need to see the effects and make decisions later and we hope that in the coming days more people will be vaccinated," she says.

"We want to achieve maximum vaccination in the population over the age of 16. The vaccine means a significant reduction in the number of patients and critically ill patients. Those who get vaccinated protect themselves, the people around them and all of us so we can get back to routine as quickly as possible.

She explains what the curfew would look like this weekend if it is approved. "We recommend that it be similar to the rules of the lockdown - everyone will be at home and will not be hosted in another house, a limit of exiting up to a thousand meters from home - with the aim of preventing gatherings. We would very much like to celebrate Purim with friends and family, but this year you should celebrate only as part of the nuclear family at home."

In her opinion, the population is also obeying the restrictions less than before, especially among the vaccinated. "We see two trends: once people open up, they feel the need to open up more and push the boundaries as much as possible, which is worrying. People also say to themselves about the vaccine that if they are vaccinated, anything can be done. It should be understood that even the vaccine, with all its effectiveness, is still unclear to what extent the vaccinated can be infected or infect others without knowing it. Therefore, as long as there is morbidity and over 4,600 patients have been infected in the last day, even those who are vaccinated should be careful and maintain all restrictions, especially wearing masks."

Dr. Greenfeld also addresses the South African mutation that is causing concern in the health care system. “The South African mutation is probably as contagious as the British one. In terms of severe morbidity we have no information that it causes such. As for the vaccine we know it is effective but not at 95% as effective against the other mutation. This is worrying and we are trying to limit the spread of the South African mutation. Very precise operations are performed to locate verified patients with this mutation, cutting off the infection chains and at the same time trying to stop the spread of other mutations as well."