Coronavirus: Inbound travelers to isolate until receiving test results – The Jerusalem Post

Inbound travelers will be required to isolate until they receive the results of the PCR test they underwent upon arrival and rapid corona tests also known as antigen tests will be performed at summer camps and programs for children and at the entrance of nursing homes, the coronavirus cabinet decided on Wednesday, announcing that the most important criteria to guide the governments action will be the number of serious patients, which has remained low throughout the current outbreak.

In a press conference later in day, Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash also announced that the list of countries from which vaccinated and recovered individuals will be required to quarantine is going to be expanded to include not only nations under currently under travel ban that Israelis cannot visit unless they obtain a special governmental permission - but also countries under travel warning.

At the moment, the first includes Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, the second Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Maldives, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Seychelles, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. The lists are updated every two weeks.

A cabinets spokesperson said that in order to increase the publics cooperation in observing quarantine regulations, the Health Ministry will start studying the question of whether the isolation period can be reduced. Ash said that they will consider all the data on the topic from Israel and from abroad and then they will see whether it is possible to recommend to shorten the period and of how many days.

Asked about whether vaccinated tourists will be allowed in starting from August 1 as planned, he said that the issue will be discussed in the coming days.

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The new measures approved by the cabinet are expected to come into effect in about a week, in order to give an appropriate window of time for the public to prepare, Ash said, adding that the rapid testing for children and visitors of nursing homes are expected to be funded by the state.

In light of the data we have, we are aiming for maximum protection for those who live in Israel and their health, along with a minimum of economic damage and disruption to daily life, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said while opening the meeting.

We will try as much as possible to be transparent, to explain to the public what we are doing and to give appropriate notice before steps are taken, he added.

The ministers did not approve any new drastic restriction, such as requiring parents of an infected child to quarantine even if they are vaccinated or demanding an additional test for all those entering Israel after four days.

Instead, the authorities will focus on continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and to be careful to wear masks indoors, as it is currently required, as well as to step up enforcement.

The cabinet reconvened on Wednesday after the meeting was adjourned without any decision on Tuesday night.

Some 521 new virus carriers were identified on Tuesday, with over 85,000 tests processed. Both numbers mark the highest since March.

Some 46 patients were in serious condition as of Wednesday afternoon, six more than on the previous days. At the lowest on June 20, the number stood at 21.

While the serious morbidity has registered a slight increase since the beginning of the current outbreak which has seen the number of active cases in the country surging from less than 200 to almost 3,300 - the increase has been very limited compared to what was happening in the past.

A likely explanation for this development is that more than 40% of current virus carriers are schoolchildren, and almost half are people who were fully vaccinated. Both groups are unlikely to develop serious symptoms.

About 40% of the patients in serious conditions were also fully vaccinated. Ash said that most of them belonged to groups considered at risk (over 60 or with pre-existing conditions).

Asked about the possibility of a new lockdown, the commissioner said that he very much hoped that Israel is not going to need it.

It depends on the number of patients in serious conditions, if we were in a situation where the health system is in danger and we want to stop the increase, Ash noted. We are talking about a situation where we have hundreds of serious patients hospitalized.

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Coronavirus: Inbound travelers to isolate until receiving test results - The Jerusalem Post

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