According to the man in charge of Israel’s pandemic response, 15,000 to 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 may be expected every day. An indoor mask mandate could be reinstated in an effort to stem the spread of this disease.

Infections are rapidly increasing. From 2,400 on June 6 to 7,661 this Tuesday.

Coronavirus BA.5 emerged from Omicron and is resistant to immunization, Salman Zarka told the Knesset’s Health Committee.

He found that 50% of the cases involved BA.5. The strain caused minor infections in young people, but the number of hospitalizations rose as a result. BA.5 is taking over from Omicron as the dominant form and is expected to take the lead.

“If the vaccine performed 90% against Delta and 30% of vaccinated persons got sick with Omicron, with the new strain the vaccine is less effective, but it protects from significant disease,” said Zarka.

He advised wearing a face mask when indoors as a personal protective measure against the infection. Currently, masks are only required in hospitals. He mentioned that discussions are on the way to making masks mandatory. Planning ahead is essential.

As the number of illnesses decreased, Israel abolished the requirement for people to wear face masks indoors in April. 

In some cases, Salman Zarka said, Israelis may soon be diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a home test, while the Health Ministry continues to establish testing centres.

To ensure that persons who take a home test are logged in the Health Ministry’s databases, we’ll be urging the committee on Monday to develop laws that allow for a “supervised home test by telephone.”

The R-value has dipped slightly, although it is still rather high at 1.46. The higher the number, the more likely it is that COVID-19 will spread. After over two months of being below one, it finally broke through in mid-May.

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