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Conflicting reports about rising COVID cases; 'No change in guidelines' according to Israel's Health Ministry

Israeli health experts disagree about potential new COVID wave

Health care worker takes swab samples from Israelis at a COVID-19 Clalit testing sample center, June 28, 2022. (Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Israeli Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday morning that there would be no changes in the guidelines concerning COVID-19 at this time, but recommended the public get their booster shots this fall.

“The Health Ministry is preparing to provide dedicated vaccines this coming winter against the new sub-strains,” the ministry stated.

“The Health Ministry recommends that people in risk groups get vaccinated against the coronavirus this coming winter. It will be possible to get vaccinated with any vaccine updated and approved by the Health Ministry when the vaccines arrive in Israel. The ministry continues to monitor the morbidity situation and will update its instructions as needed.”

The statement comes amid reports that coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States and resulting fears of a corresponding COVID-19 wave in Israel.

Israeli health experts disagree about whether cases are indeed on the rise.

The director of the Immunology-Rheumatology Department at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Prof. Dror Mevorach told Maariv news on Tuesday that “there are increases in the US that herald a wave, but not yet in Israel. There are estimates of more disease infections around us, but the hospitals do not see it.”

“I don't think we are in the same situation as we were in, and it was also expected that there would be strains that rise a bit and fall a bit, and even more towards the winter,” he added.

Prof. Salman Zarka, former Coronavirus czar and current director of Ziv Medical Center in Safed, claimed that there has been an increase in patients in Israel.

“What we are seeing in terms of the reports, it’s clear to us that this does not reflect the real situation, we are seeing an increase in the spread of the disease. I can say that two patients are hospitalized at the Ziv Medical Center, one in serious condition,” Zarka told Ynet news.

“You have to take into account that the population is currently not protected, we have been without morbidity for almost a year, but now there is a resurgence of the virus. We need to protect the adults in a proactive way, soon there will be holidays.”

Israel's popular pharmacy chain SuperPharm reported an increase in demand for COVID-19 tests in recent weeks.

According to Dr. Tal Brosh, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, “There is a certain increase in the number of infections and the infection rate but there is no reliable information on how many people have been infected anywhere in the world because they are not tested and not institutionally measured.”

“At the hospital we see more people arriving and there is also an increase in hospitalizations. No one can know what the situation is in the public because as soon as we stopped institutional checks, it was clear that we would have no information and that we would only be able to know from the tip of the iceberg. We don't always have to know everything but there is an increase in hospitalizations,” Brosh added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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