Professor Salman Zarka
Professor Salman Zarka Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Professor Salman Zarka, Israel's coronavirus czar, estimates that quarantine for coronavirus-positive individuals will be canceled.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Prof. Zarka estimated that in the middle of June, those testing positive for COVID-19 will no longer need to quarantine.

Though both the infection coefficient and the percent positive have held relatively steady since mid-April, Prof. Zarka also claimed that the fifth wave of the virus is continuing to slow down: "We are at a small number of hospitalized cases each day. At the same time, it is clear to all of us that the infection rate is much greater than what we see, due to the cancellation of the requirement to test."

The coronavirus czar also said that as part of the preparations for the upcoming winter, the Health Ministry is weighing whether to begin another coronavirus vaccination campaign during the summer months.

Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash said: "It will be a very great challenge to convince people to get a fifth dose, and that will influence the decision. There is a dilemma regarding the timing, and whether to do it ahead of the coming winter, automatically, or not. Right now there is no testimony which would justify a fifth dose, and if we begin such a campaign we will need to decide whether to do it during a wave of infections, and obviously who to vaccinate - whether the entire population or just those who are at risk. We are thinking about it, but there are no decisions or clear plans," he said.

Israel is already preparing for a sixth wave, even though right now there is no indication of any rise in infections.

Prof. Zarka added, "We are disturbed by whether a strain such as Delta will appear, or something virulent which will harm the younger, healthy, population and pregnant women. This will be a significant event, and if the strain is even more contagious, then it is disturbing. We are in a 'between waves' state of mind, and we are creating a civilian body which will examine whether there are new variants in the world."

At the same time, he said, if 2022 passes without a new wave of infections or a new variant, 2023 may be the year life returns fully to normal.