COVID testing
COVID testing צילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The SARS-CoV-2 virus will likely never disappear, becoming endemic, Israel’s Health Ministry chief said Tuesday.

Speaking with Radio 103 FM Tuesday morning, Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash noted that after the two years, the pandemic had yet to end, and emphasized that the virus would likely never disappear.

“The virus hasn’t disappeared, and it is close to certain that it will never disappear. We need to look at this virus with a long-term perspective.”

Ash also discussed the spread of new variants of the virus, including BA2, a highly infectious subvariant of the Omicron strain.

“The BA2 variant is still only a few percentage points [of COVID infections] with us, and thus far there are no signs that it is spreading. I hope it will stay that way.”

“And new variants are coming out all the time. I hope that there won’t be a new variant that threatens us.”

Turning to Israel’s vaccine passport system, the ‘Green Pass’, Ash denied that the government had used the program as a means of pressuring Israelis to get vaccinated.

“We stopped using the Green Pass because it is less effective now. We didn’t view it as a tool for encouraging vaccination, rather to prevent infections.”