The Coronavirus Cabinet convened Tuesday night and the ministers were presented with a number of scenarios - including a scenario according to which the coefficient of infection continues to rise and in which there will be between 1,000 and 3,000 new verified coronavirus cases per day by January.
The team of Hebrew University researchers pointed to an increase in the number of vaccinated adolescents in the age group 13-18 who have recently been diagnosed with coronavirus, rising from 12% in early November to 16% in recent days.
The researchers noted that the significant increase in the rate of infection in adolescents is an important statistic since most of them are vaccinated with two vaccines.
According to the expert team's report, there is an expectation of a gradual increase in morbidity and efforts should be invested in vaccinating children and providing the booster shot to adolescents.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced at the meeting that he intends to promote a move in which the children studying in schools and kindergartens will undergo antigen tests before returning to school from the Hanukkah holiday.
During the meeting, Bennett said, "There is a very strong and severe wave of the Delta strain that has hit the world in Eastern Europe and now also in Western Europe. Austria is in a general lockdown. We see a jump in high numbers in some countries. In many Western countries there is a significant increase. This is mainly due to the fact that they did not give the booster shots in time."
"Here in Israel we are controlling the epidemic well. We also overcame the fourth wave without closing businesses, making a general lockdown and without preventing studies, and we also created a set of tools that we did not have before like serological and antigen tests to control the disease. Here in Israel there is a disturbing trend of childhood disease.
"In the area of critically ill patients and patients on respirators - the numbers are good, but we know that morbidity also brings in more serious patients later on. Therefore the goal is to prevent serious morbidity and not reach a point where we lack the needed tools, but we can't ignore the statistics," Bennett added.
He said, "We set out today with the pediatric vaccination campaign. There are about 3 million children in the world who have been vaccinated. It is very important that we give a boost to this move. There are currently no components of pressure through incentives or green passes. We are simply engaging in an information campaign that is mainly about transparency. We explain that the vaccines are safe, that the risks of symptoms such as heart inflammation are higher in children with coronavirus than in children who get the coronavirus vaccine. In my experience, some things may come out, so please do not say things that might hurt the campaign. I would like to thank the people of the Health Ministry, such as Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, who is suffering unbearable attacks while doing a very good job. The way this is being conducted is similar to a war. The Cabinet deals with policy and does not deal with the micro-level. In addition, there is a team headed by me that deals with the micro."