Israel is in the midst of a fifth wave of Covid-19 caused by the microscopic variant, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday, urging citizens to increase vaccinations and take precautions such as working from home.
In a televised speech, Bennett said Israel, moving quickly to limit travel, bought some time when Micron was first detected last month, but is now falling short. He predicted the spread of the disease within a few weeks.
Earlier on Sunday, a ministry of health advisory committee recommended that Israel add the United States to a list of “red” countries where its citizens cannot fly without special permission. Bennett did not mention this measure in his speech.
The health ministry said Israel has recorded 134 confirmed cases of micronism and another 307 suspected cases. Of them, 167 were symptomatic, it said.
“The time we buy is running out,” Bennett said. “The numbers are not high right now, it is a very contagious variant, doubling every two or three days, as we see all over the world. It is possible to say that the fifth wave has already started. “
In a swift response to Micron, which was first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong, Israel on November 25 banned the entry of foreigners and imposed three to 14-day quarantine orders on Israelis returning from abroad.
But Bennett has also been internally criticized for holidaying his wife and children abroad, when he urged Israelis to avoid such trips.