As Israel’s 4th Wave Ebbs, Health Officials Fear New Variant Could Cause 5th Wave

Photo: Health Ministry

Israel’s fourth coronavirus wave has been showing signs of receding, with a steady decrease in the number of new daily cases in recent days.

The number of seriously ill patients has also been steadily declining.

But as the COVID pandemic has taught society, anything can change at any time and Israel can’t yet rest on its laurels. Senior health officials say that Israel must be on guard to prevent a resurgence of COVID caused by the entry of new variants into the country such as the AY.4.2 variant recently discovered in Europe.

“We need to learn what the clinical significance of each variant is,” Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash told 103 FM Radio. “Right now I don’t have much to say, we still need to become familiar with it and evaluate if it’s dangerous for us or not. There have been many variants, some of which were discovered to be significant, such as Delta, and others which were not.”

“What’s most critical is that a variant which spreads more quickly is more dangerous since it can spread throughout a country. That’s what we’ll need to evaluate in the coming days.”

Professor Galia Rahav, who heads the Sheba Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Unit, said that Israel must make efforts to prevent the entry of new COVID variants through Ben-Gurion Airport. She added that the Israeli public should act more responsibly.

“There isn’t enough emphasis on the personal behavior of Israelis,” she said. “People must continue to use masks, especially at crowded events, and remain vigilant. Parents shouldn’t send their young children to kindergarten or school if they are sick and stay home from work if they’re sick.”

Coronavirus czar Prof. Salman Zarka believes that the fourth COVID wave is still here and restrictions should remain in place in order to prevent a fifth COVID wave in the future.

“COVID is still raging throughout the world, new variants are emerging and many countries don’t have the benefit of vaccines,” he said. “We must be very vigilant and make preparations to prevent a fifth wave from occurring.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)