So far, no deaths have been attributed to the Omicron variant, yet Bennett told cabinet ministers that two had died, as he made the case for vaccinating children.
By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told ministers at a cabinet meeting Sunday that two children had died of the Omicron Covid variant in the UK, when in fact no deaths from Omicron have yet been recorded.
“The Omicron variant also attacks children. We see this in other countries and are also seeing this in Israel. Just this week two middle school classmates in England died from Omicron. One was not vaccinated at all, and the second, it seems, was only partially vaccinated. We are also seeing children being struck in Israel,” Bennett said, in an attempt to make the case for vaccinating more Israeli children.
Last week the World Health Organization announced that, so far, no deaths from the Omicron variant have been recorded worldwide, although cases have been recorded in South Africa, Australia, America, the UK, India and elsewhere, including Israel.
Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser of the UK Health Security Agency, confirmed to the BBC Sunday that no deaths from the variant have yet been logged in the UK, although in a separate interview, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said there were “cases in hospital with Omicron.”
A source in Bennett’s bureau said that the prime minister had been thinking of two British teens who reportedly died of Covid last month, although their deaths were recorded before Omicron was detected in the UK.
Despite uncertainly over the severity of the new strain and high rates of vaccination already among the Israeli public, Bennett has called for vaccination rates to be increased tenfold daily, and for children to be vaccinated.
“Securing the borders is not enough. We have to take advantage of these precious days to boost the vaccination of all citizens,” Bennett said.
Israel is set to introduce harsher measures against those without a green pass, including barring them from shopping malls, but plans to prevent unvaccinated people from leaving the country will not be going ahead. Bennett’s plan to enforce a lockdown on the unvaccinated was also quashed by the deputy attorney general last week.