‘Corona is here to stay and we have to live with it,’ says Israel’s health minister

Foreign tourism date pushed back once again, schools to operate in ‘capsule’ system.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said that Israel is shifting its strategy in fighting the coronavirus, focusing on mitigating the risks from returning travelers and disrupting daily life and the economy as little as possible.

“Coronavirus will be with us for a long time, and we have to create a routine so that we can live alongside it,” Horowitz told Kan News.

“What the Health Ministry is pushing for are steps that help us monitor everyone coming in from abroad, and strengthening monitoring in…other areas so that we can continue living life with minimal restrictions.”

Horowitz added that starting today (Sunday), immunocompromised people could receive a third dose of the shot.

An additional jab of the vaccine is not currently recommended or endorsed by Pfizer. The pharmaceutical industry titan recently announced that it would seek FDA approval for a third dose in August.

Horowitz’s statement about learning to live alongside the virus is indicative of the government’s new approach to managing the pandemic.

According to Hebrew-language media, the Health Ministry will recommend that children returning to school in September study in “capsules,” smaller groups that are meant to help stop the spread of the virus in educational institutions.

After being pushed back from June 1 to July 1, and then from July 1 to August 1, the Tourism Ministry said that Israel will not be accepting individual tourists — even if they are vaccinated — before September 1.

Previously, the Ministry floated the idea of accepting only vaccinated travelers, with proof of immunization and a serological blood test proving they have coronavirus antibodies to be conducted at the airport.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has encouraged children ages 12 to 15 to get vaccinated, rolling out a massive campaign that included health professionals combing the beaches for potential takers over the weekend.

Currently, some 5.7 million Israelis have been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine, and nearly 5.2 million have received one jab.

There are 4,130 active cases of the virus in Israel, with 44 people listed as being in serious condition.