Lockdown enforcement in Jerusalem
Lockdown enforcement in JerusalemOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The head of the Public Health Services, Dr. Sharon Alroy Preis, addressed the legislative committee on the morbidity situation in Israel against the background of the first step towards routine and the possibilities for opening the educational system. "Even if all 2.5 million children were immunized, we would probably not reach herd immunity," said Dr. Alroy Preis.

"It is impossible to say that the lockdown failed when it lowered the coefficient of infection from 1.3 to 0.99 today. In the Haredi society the coefficient is 0.9; in the general society 1.05; in the Arab society 1.01," claimed Alroy Preis. "There is also the matter of the British mutation, which is even more contagious and raises the chances for serious illness."

Dr. Alroy Preis later commented on the vaccination campaign and said: "If we thought that after the first injection of the vaccine everything would be different - it is not. According to the Pfizer study, the vaccine is 95% effective, which means that 5% will not receive full protection. The elderly likely see closer to 90%."

"When we are told that we need to go into lockdown with a little less than 1,000 critically ill patients, it sounds crazy. We can't take the entire State of Israel hostage," said the head of the public health services regarding the decision to withdraw from the quarantine. "It must be understood that anything that is opened will increase the coefficient of infection and we need the state to choose what to do. We are trying to find an outline that will address 80% of the localities in the country that are orange or red."

“The English variant is an example of what happens when something comes in from abroad. Attempts are being made these days to curb the South African and Brazilian variants, "said Dr. Alroy Preis in relation to the decision to close the airport. "A lot of countries don't do genetic sequencing so they don't know what's going on in them. You can get back to making the most of the citizens living abroad once they go to quarantine hotels and pass serological tests."

The chairman of the committee, MK Yaakov Asher, also addressed the issue and claimed that "it could take another two months or half a year for there to be vaccines for the variants. The isolation for returning travellers should be shortened - go for the minimum to be sure that a variant does not enter the country. Everyone who gets on the plane must be tested at 4 and 10 days after arrival."