Israel’s coronavirus czar, Prof. Nachman Ash, said Wednesday that the country would not enter a new lockdown or reinstate the outdoor mask mandate, despite the rising rate of infection from the highly contagious delta variant. But he would have to reconsider this decision if the number of serious cases requiring hospitalizations threatens to overwhelm the health care system.
One cause for concern: The variant has now been detected in the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors, where it could spread rapidly.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Coronavirus Cabinet decided that all incoming visitors would be tested on arrival in the country and would be required to self-isolate until receiving negative test results.
Even vaccinated and recovered Israelis returning from abroad will be required to quarantine if they are coming from countries under a travel ban or warning. Israelis need special government permission to visit countries under the travel ban, including Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. The travel warning currently applies to Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Maldives, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Seychelles, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Quick testing, subsidized by the state, will be made available at the entrances to geriatric institutions and at summer camps hosting 100 or more children.
Israel on Wednesday reported over 500 new daily coronavirus cases for the second day in a row.