Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that Israel is in the midst of a fifth wave of the Covid-19 virus due to the micron variant, urging citizens to ramp up vaccinations and take precautions such as working from home.
In a televised address, Bennett said Israel bought some time by moving quickly to limit travel when Micron was first discovered last month, but that is now dwindling. Predict an outbreak in a few weeks.
Earlier on Sunday, a Health Ministry advisory panel recommended Israel add the United States to its list of “red” countries whose citizens cannot travel without special permission. Bennett did not mention this action in his speech.
The Israeli Ministry of Health said that Israel has recorded 134 cases of micron infection and another 307 suspected cases, including 167 asymptomatic cases.
“We’re running out of time,” Bennett said. “The numbers are not high yet, it is a very contagious species, doubling every two or three days, as we see all over the world. It is possible to say that the fifth wave has already begun.”
In its first quick response to Ômicron, which was first detected in South Africa and Hong Kong, on November 25 Israel banned entry to foreigners and imposed quarantine orders for three to 14 days on Israelis returning from abroad.
But Bennett has also come under fire at home over his wife and children’s vacations abroad, after urging Israelis to avoid such trips.
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