Report: Half of COVID Cases in Israel Are Now Omicron

YERUSHALAYIM -

Half of the coronavirus cases in Israel sent for genetic sequencing are caused by the Omicron variant, health officials told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday, as morbidity in the country continued to increase.

“No one, and especially those who have children in the education system, will escape this wave in one way or another,” Bennett said in the meeting, according to Yediot. On Sunday, the Prime Minister entered quarantine after one of his daughters was found infected with COVID. While Bennett himself has tested negative, he said he was going to continue to isolate as a precaution.

During the meeting, he discussed a possible change in quarantine policy with health and government officials. Under the current policy, even fully vaccinated individuals are required to quarantine for at least a week if they are exposed to Omicron.

However, in the upcoming days and in light of the infectiousness of the variant – whose cases are predicted to double every 2.5 days – the number of Israelis forced to stay at home might reach hundreds of thousands, impairing the ability of the country to function.

For this reason, the authorities are considering canceling the requirement or shortening the period to three days.

In general, cases in Israel have been on a sharp rise for several days. In the past week, almost 10,000 new cases have been reported, marking an 81% increase from the previous week.

In order to ascertain whether a person is infected with a specific variant, their PCR test needs to be sent for genetic sequencing, a process that requires a few days.

Until recently, the Delta variant was still considered to be the dominant one in Israel, but experts believe that the new explosion in number of cases must be caused by Omicron, which is known to be highly contagious.