How is pizza made in Israel

Gradually back to normal +++ New infections have fallen sharply

MONDAY 24 May 2021

8.25 a.m.
Gradually back to normal
On Sunday, the Israeli Ministry of Health announced that almost all coronavirus restrictions in the country will be lifted from June 1.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he would not request an extension of the regulations that expire on that date. In the next two weeks, some details will be discussed so that the mask requirement indoors and travel restrictions will continue to apply for the time being. However, from this point onwards, access to public places will no longer be restricted to those who can show that they have been vaccinated or have recovered.

"The return to normal will take place with an asterisk," and the authorities will continue to monitor the situation, said Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. "If there is another outbreak, we will of course have to row back." There were 510 active cases in Israel as of Sunday, 59 of which were in severe condition. The rate of positive test results ranged from 0.1 to 0.2 percent.

On Sunday, Israel opened its borders to foreign tourists due to falling infection rates. However, it will take time for numerous visitors to arrive and revitalize the tourism industry. As part of the easing, the government plans to allow small groups of tourists to enter from countries using Israel-approved vaccines. However, registration for immigration was only opened last week, so the number of visitors will initially be limited. "It is unlikely that the first groups will arrive before the beginning of June," said a spokeswoman for the tourism ministry.


  • The Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich (ICZ) recommends the Infoline Federal Office of Public Health (24h) 058 463 00 00 as well as the doctor's phone for medical questions about the coronavirus (24h) 0800 33 66 55. ICZ phone number: 044 283 22 22.
  • Secretariat of the Jewish Liberal Congregation Zurich 043 322 03 14 or [email protected]
  • Secretariat of the Israelite Religious Society Zurich: 044 241 80 57.
  • Jewish ambulance service Hazoloh in Zurich: 044 202 30 60.
  • Corona Task Force Agudas Achim / Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft Zürich: [email protected] or SMS / Whatsapp 077 500 98 63 (for non-medical questions)




  • Hotline of the Communauté Israélite de Lausanne et du canton de Vaud with current assessments of their Coronavirus Commission 021 341 72 45.


MONDAY 10 May 2021

9.20 a.m.
New infections fell sharply
For the first time in 14 months, the number of people infected with coronavirus in Israel fell to 985 on Sunday.

For the last time, the number of active cases was below 1,000 during the first wave of the pandemic on March 21, 20202. At that time, 980 people were infected. After that, the number rose steadily and peaked about three months ago. In early February, a month and a half after the vaccination campaign began, there were more than 74,000 active cases and the daily number of new confirmed cases was 9,000. The rapid spread has been attributed to the more infectious British mutation.

On Sunday the picture changed fundamentally with around 4.5 million vaccinated Israelis (mostly with both doses) and another 830,000 recovered. Only 17 new cases were registered on Saturday. There are currently 84 people in the hospital in serious condition. The downward trend in Israel has continued even after the education system reopened. However, distance rules and a mask requirement still apply there. At present, mass events are subject to the “green passport” restrictions, as are restaurants, cultural events and other events with a large number of people.

Health professionals are cautiously optimistic. Nevertheless, they fear that a slight change in the virus genome and a decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine could jeopardize Israel's previous successes. The greatest danger lies in the import of mutations from abroad and in unvaccinated children. Health officials are waiting for a Knesset constitutional committee to be set up to monitor arrivals from abroad using electronic wristbands and take further steps to curb the risk of mutations spreading in Israel.

FRIDAY, May 7th, 2021

9.00 a.m.
Extended validity of the Green Passes
On Wednesday, the Israeli Ministry of Health announced that the validity of the “Green Passport” would be extended until the end of 2021. The "green passports" are certificates that Israelis receive after they have been fully vaccinated.

The validity of the passports was initially six months after receiving the second dose, or after recovery from Covid-19, until the end of June 2021. However, the new announcement suggests that all vaccinated Israelis will not have to receive their third dose of a vaccine until the end of 2021.

On Tuesday, the coronavirus cabinet approved a number of other relaxations, including allowing gatherings of 50 people indoors and 500 people in open spaces. You are also allowed to take part in outdoor events without a “Green Pass”.

Fitness rooms, sports facilities, swimming pools and other leisure facilities are operated according to the rules of the "purple badge". This means that the public no longer needs to present a vaccination certificate when entering these premises. Children are also allowed to use these facilities. However, all rooms that are operated according to the rules of the “purple badge” may only open to a reduced capacity, so that only one person is allowed to be per seven meters.

The capacity restrictions for taxis and other means of transport will also be lifted from Thursday at 7:00 a.m. It will also no longer be necessary to present vouchers for train journeys.

WEDNESDAY 05 May 2021

8.00 a.m.
New start for BriLife?
The Israeli Institute for Biological Research is considering restarting its ongoing clinical trial with the COVID-19 vaccine it has developed. The restart could make it possible to develop a version of the vaccine that is effective after a single dose. From the first and second phases of the clinical study it appeared that the second injection could be dispensed with if the patient was given a higher dose in a single injection.

That decision would most likely delay the date that the BriLife vaccine will be available to the public. The Nes Tziona-based institute is also planning to move its clinical trials from Israel to Argentina. This is due to Israel's successful vaccination campaign. Since numerous Israelis have already been vaccinated against the virus, it is difficult to test the effectiveness of the vaccine. Over the next two weeks, a delegation led by doctors from Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, which is involved in the clinical trial, is expected to travel to Argentina to prepare for the relocation of the trial.

An effective vaccine that required only one dose for immunity would have a number of advantages in terms of production capacity, cost, and shipping. Like the obvious advantage that the public can be vaccinated faster. This is especially true if booster vaccinations are found to be necessary to maintain immunity. A single-dose vaccine could give Israel an edge in the global vaccine market, although repetition of the first and second clinical trials could delay time to market.

The Israeli BriLife vaccine is based on an animal carrier virus called Stomatitis Vesicular Virus, or VSV. It is a viral vector vaccine, which means that a modified version of this virus is used to induce immunity in humans. VSV rarely infects humans, and when it does it causes mild, temporary symptoms - at most, fever and joint pain. In the case of the BriLife vaccine, the VSV virus acts as a vector that carries parts of the protein on the surface of the virus, trying to induce an immune response to the coronavirus.

MONDAY, May 03, 2021

3:50 p.m.
Impending «vaccine apartheid»
In a comment published in the New York Times last week, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, estimated that low-income countries worldwide were only 0.3 percent, while high-income countries 81 percent, of the available Covid-19 - Have received vaccines.

The unlimited power of private corporations, the apparent inequality between nations and the persistence of the pandemic raise serious questions around the world. For example, the question of the protection of vaccination patents. There is a growing movement in the US calling for patents to be revoked or surrendered so that any manufacturer who wants to make vaccines can do so. Vaccine manufacturers there are currently accused of greed and “vaccine apartheid”. Last weekend, Senator Bernie Sanders urged US President Joe Biden to support international efforts to suspend patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. He argued that they are artificially restricting the global supply of vaccines and preventing citizens of poor countries from gaining access to a life-saving product.

On the other side of the fence is Bill Gates, who, while helping improve poor countries' access to vaccines, thinks abandoning patent protection for Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers is a bad idea. Gates argued that increased vaccine supply is not prevented by intellectual property restrictions, but is a technical matter: there are a limited number of vaccine manufacturing plants and the safety of the manufacturing process must remain paramount.

Doctor Ron Tomer, co-CEO of Unipharm, a generic drug company and president of the Israeli trade group, also believes the vaccine shortage is due to production restrictions, not patent restrictions. According to him, the best solution is not to waive patents, but to set reasonable license fees through an independent global organization. As a result, anyone interested in patent rights could pay these license fees. "This is a solution suitable for life-saving drugs, especially after the companies that developed the vaccines have already made a good profit."

FRIDAY April 30th 2021

12.20 p.m.
New cases in Israel
The Israeli Ministry of Health has diagnosed 41 new cases of the Indian coronavirus mutation. Among the infected were four people who were already vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Israeli genome sequencing system found that 24 people who had recently returned from abroad were infected with the Indian mutation, which experts believe is more contagious than other variants. The 17 other people, including five school children, were infected in their environment. The Ministry of Health and the IDF Home Front Command carry out extensive tests in the schools in which the children are enrolled.

21 of the people who tested positive for the mutation are foreigners. Last week Israel banned the entry of tourists from India over concerns about the spread of the mutation. Under the new restrictions, only 300 nurses and students are allowed to enter the country per month. Entrants must quarantine themselves in state hotels that are only intended for those coming from India. Unless they have recovered from Covid-19 in Israel or have already been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Last month, around 1,000 people came to Israel from India, only about a quarter of whom were vaccinated. Of the participants, 63 tested positive for the virus, but not all were necessarily infected with the Indian variant. The Israeli Ministry of Health also identified eight new cases of the South African variant, seven of the New York variant, two of the California variant, one of the St. Petersburg variant and one case of the British mutation.

Although most of the coronavirus restrictions in Israel have been lifted in the past few weeks due to the decline in infection rates, entry into the country is still controlled. Israelis who enter without a vaccination certificate must quarantine themselves at home, while those who have been vaccinated or have recovered in Israel do not have to quarantine. However, you must receive a negative result from a rapid coronavirus test, which is now being offered to all persons entering Israel via Ben-Gurion Airport.

WEDNESDAY April 28, 2021

10.00 a.m.
Mask requirement relaxed
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC) on Tuesday relaxed their guidelines for wearing masks outdoors. Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to cover their faces unless they are in a large crowd of strangers.

Even people who have not been vaccinated can in some cases go outside without a mask.
The new guidelines represent another step towards normalcy in the United States after the coronavirus outbreak killed 570,000 people there. During the past year, the "CDC" advised Americans to wear masks outdoors when they cannot be more than three feet apart.

The new relaxations are due to the fact that more than half of adults in the US have received at least one dose of vaccine and more than a third have already been fully vaccinated. "It's the return of freedom," said Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. “It's a return to normal activities. We're not quite there yet, but we're on our way. And that's a nice thing. "

Still, more people need to be vaccinated and concerns remain about the mutations and unexpected changes in the epidemic. According to Saag, however, the new easing is a reasonable reward after around 140 million Americans have been vaccinated.

MONDAY, April 26, 2021

12.35 p.m.
Entry from India is restricted
Israel has banned the entry of tourists from India due to the recently discovered cases of the Indian mutation of the coronavirus.

Under the newly imposed restrictions, tourists from India are prohibited from entering Israel. Only 300 nurses and students are allowed entry per month. Entrants must quarantine themselves in state hotels that are only intended for those coming from India. Unless they have recovered from Covid-19 in Israel or have already been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Last month, around 1,000 people came to Israel from India, only about a quarter of whom were vaccinated. Of those arriving, 63 people tested positive for the virus, but not all were necessarily infected with the Indian mutation. The Indian mutation is of concern to experts as two mutations in its protein could make it more resistant to the coronavirus vaccine. The virus could also be more contagious than other variants.

Last month, the Indian Ministry of Health reported a virus mutation that includes two genetic changes and is a kind of "union" of two mutations previously known as E484Q and L452R. However, since samples taken from across India have shown that the predominant mutation in the country comes from the UK, it is likely that the new mutation was not behind the recent outbreak in India.

FRIDAY April 23, 2021

7.50 a.m.
New travel warnings
The Israeli Ministry of Health released a new travel warning to Israelis on Thursday, including those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have already been vaccinated. The population should not travel to Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey.

The declaration pointed out the high morbidity rates as well as the existence of alarming mutations in these countries and recommended that the population avoid all travel outside of Israel if possible.

Approximately 54 percent of Israel's citizens and residents over the age of 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer / BioNTech - have received both doses, and infections and hospital stays have fallen sharply.With the number of Israelis vaccinated against Covid-19 already exceeding 5 million and the country registering fewer than 100 new cases per day, the government ended its mandate for external masks on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Israel said it would allow vaccinated tourist groups to enter the country from May 23. Since Israel went into lockdown for the first time in March 2020, foreigners - with rare exceptions - have no longer been allowed to enter the country. At the end of January, as part of the third lockdown, even Israeli citizens were prevented from entering the country.

WEDNESDAY April 21, 2021

8:05 a.m.
Fauci «doesn't work for us»
Conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci is actually committed to Israel rather than serving the United States.

Wolf, an anti-vaccine activist who has also spread conspiracy theories about Ebola and ISIS, appeared on Fox News Monday to criticize Fauci-sponsored pandemic restrictions. The one-time Democratic adviser said Fauci does not serve the "public health of the American people" and "He does not work for us." Among the examples of alleged conflicts, Wolf cited an award Fauci received from an Israeli university.

"He received a million dollars as a humanitarian gift from the State of Israel," she said.

In fact, Fauci received the Dan David Prize, a prestigious $ 1 million award not received from the Israeli government, but from Tel Aviv University. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, was recognized for his public health service and was recognized for facing the powerful in a highly charged political environment.

Wolf has already sharply criticized Israel. A Twitter poll in 2019 with the question: "Which nation is the greatest threat to world peace?" She answered with: "Where is Israel?"

TUESDAY, April 20, 2021

4:55 p.m.
British mutation much more contagious
A new study by Tel Aviv University found that the British variant (B 1.1.7) of Covid-19 is 45 percent more contagious than the original virus. The researchers relied on data from around 500,000 PCR tests for Covid-19 that had been obtained from the Covid-19 test laboratory, which was set up in collaboration with the Electra Group. Full Length Article: (Tachles)

7.50 a.m.
9 million additional cans
Israel has bought nine million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will arrive in 2022, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Monday. The additional doses are designed to ensure Israel can get booster vaccinations to ensure protection from the coronavirus by 2022.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had discussions with Pfizer and Moderna CEOs and hoped to reach an agreement with Moderna soon. "We will have more than enough vaccines for adults and children very soon," said Netanyahu. «Israel will again be at the forefront of the global fight against the coronavirus. There will be no more lockdowns. "

Information about vaccine supplies to Israel - whether Pfizer or Moderna - is well protected and not publicly available. The information that is made public at times is not always clear. Israel has so far given around 10.3 million doses of the vaccine to its population and fully vaccinated over 5 million. About two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Pfizer had completed shipments of vaccines to Israel based on the contract signed last November.

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, recently said it was likely that a third booster could be required within a year of the second dose. This led Coronavirus Commissioner Nachman Ash to say last week that Israel does not have enough vaccines to provide its population with a third dose.

MONDAY, April 19, 2021

4.35 p.m.
Help for Uruguay
Israel, which is itself on the best way out of the Covid crisis, wants to help other, less fortunate states. Next, the Jewish state is sending a team of doctors to Uruguay. Full length article: (Tachles).

7.55 a.m.
Abolition of the mask requirement
On Sunday, Israel took another step on the way to socio-economic normalization. The protective masks only have to be worn in closed rooms, but no longer outdoors. School operations across the country have also been fully normalized again after more than a year. Full length article: (Tachles).

FRIDAY April 16, 2021

2:25 p.m.
Worry about supplies
Israel does not have enough Covid-19 vaccines to provide its population with a third dose, coronavirus commissioner Professor Nachman Ash said on Friday.
"We have enough doses to complete the first vaccination campaign - that's two doses per citizen," Ash told Army Radio. "This is what worries us right now," he added.
However, Ash said he believes agreements will be made "soon" with Moderna and Pfizer. "We also want to guarantee that there will be doses, even if there is an improved vaccine for new mutations."

Ash believes the agreements with Pfizer and Moderna will be signed soon to ensure an additional supply of vaccines. He referred specifically to the discussions with Pfizer: “The Department of Health is in contact with Pfizer regarding the details of the agreement. The budget is the only thing that has yet to be clarified. I hope that it will be sealed soon. "
On Thursday, CNBC reported that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla estimates the vaccine will remain effective for a year after receiving the second dose and that an annual booster may be required.

Earlier this month, Pfizer announced that its vaccine was 91 percent effective at preventing the disease even six months after receiving the second dose.

8.00 a.m.
Bhutan in first place
Shown on a graph, the Covid-19 vaccination campaign curve in Bhutan shot up from day one, overtaking Israel, the US, Bahrain and other countries known for rapidly vaccinating their populations. It took these countries months to reach their levels and worried about their vaccination campaigns given the rise in infections among their populations. But the story of Bhutan's vaccination campaign is almost over - just 16 days after it began.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom between India and China has vaccinated nearly 93 percent of its adult population since March 27, and a total of 62 percent of its 800,000 residents. With its swift vaccination campaign, the tiny nation is right behind the Seychelles, which have already cared for 66 percent of its population of nearly 100,000.

The success of Bhutan was not only due to the small size of the country, but can also be attributed to dedicated volunteer citizens known as "Desuups". Also, the country already had an established cold chain storage system from previous vaccination campaigns.

Bhutan received its first 150,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from neighboring India in January, but the doses were not distributed until late March to coincide with favorable dates in Buddhist astrology.

Bhutan has so far recorded 910 infections and one death from Covid-19. There is a mandatory 21-day quarantine for all people arriving in the country. All schools and educational institutions are open and monitored for compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

THURSDAY April 14, 2021

7.45 a.m.
Schools reopened
As a further sign of a return to normal life, the Israeli cabinet has decided that all public schools in the country will resume normal operations on Sunday. Full length article: (tachles)

TUESDAY 13 April 2021

5:32 p.m.
Israel allows travel groups to enter
Israel will allow vaccinated tourists in organized tour groups from May 23, tourism minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said on Tuesday. Since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March 2020, in addition to rare exceptions for non-citizens, only Israeli citizens have been allowed into the country.

According to the minister, all tourists would undergo a coronavirus test and an antibody test within 72 hours of boarding the plane to prove they have been vaccinated or have recovered. After landing, passengers would be retested. First, the number of tourists that can enter the country each day will be limited.

In this first phase of the resurgence of Israeli tourism, only groups are allowed as they are easier to monitor, according to a joint statement from the ministries of health and tourism. Assuming that infection rates do not rise, Israel would gradually open its border to individual travelers as well. The decision was made in agreement with Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein and his specialists.

Last week Israel started allowing certain groups of non-residents who have relatives in the country to enter the country. Overseas visitors must obtain prior authorization from either the Home Office or their local Israeli consulate.

9.40 a.m.
Vulnerabilities in the Pfizer vaccine?
The coronavirus mutation discovered in South Africa can "break" the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech to a certain extent, according to a study with real data in Israel. However, the prevalence of the mutation in the country has so far been low and the research results are not yet fully conclusive.

The study, published on Saturday, compared nearly 400 people who tested positive for COVID-19 14 days or more after receiving a dose or two of the vaccine, with the same number of unvaccinated patients. According to a study by Tel Aviv University and the largest Israeli health service provider Clalit, the South African variant B.1.351 accounts for around 1 percent of all Covid 19 cases in all people examined. In patients who received two doses of the vaccine, the prevalence rate of the variant was eight times higher than in non-vaccinated patients - 5.4 percent versus 0.7 percent. This suggests that the vaccine against the South African variant is less effective than the original coronavirus.

“We found a disproportionately high rate of the South African mutation in people who were vaccinated with a second dose than in the non-vaccinated group. This means that the South African variant can break the protection of the vaccine to a certain extent, ”said Adi Stern of Tel Aviv University.

However, the researchers warned that due to the rarity of the South African mutation in Israel, the study only had a small sample of people infected with it. Likewise, the research is not believed to have been intended to infer the overall effectiveness of the vaccine against the mutation. Only people who had already tested positive for Covid-19 were examined and not the overall infection rates.

MONDAY, April 12, 2021

8.25 a.m.
Health statistics
The Israeli Ministry of Health registered 86 new infections on Sunday. The number of people who have received the second dose of a vaccine to date was 4,921,648 (52.92 percent of the population). 5,310,216 people (57.1 percent of the population) received the first dose.
The number of critically ill patients rose from 259 to 263 overnight, while the number of active cases fell to 3,890. There are currently 153 patients in critical condition and 139 require ventilation. Of the 11,173 Covid 19 tests carried out on Saturday, only 0.8 percent were positive.

THURSDAY, April 8th, 2021

8.15 a.m.
Vaccine deliveries stopped
Pfizer stopped a shipment of 700,000 doses of Covid vaccine to Israel because the country had not yet paid for a previous shipment of 2.5 million doses.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that the delivery should arrive last Sunday, but will be delayed indefinitely until payment. Israel paid for its first 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine shortly after it was made available, making it the record-breaking rate in the world. When supplies began to dwindle in February, Israel signed a deal with Pfizer for additional doses. (jpost)

According to the "Post", Israel has so far spent 2.6 billion shekels or almost 700 million US dollars on vaccines. The country of over 9 million people has started to slowly normalize major social events and gatherings such as concerts and sporting events using a digital vaccine passport system. However, almost half of the country has not yet been vaccinated.

WEDNESDAY 7 April 2021

5.45 p.m.
Anti-Semitism on the internet is increasing
The numerous lockdowns due to Covid-19 last year have pushed anti-Semitic hatred to the Internet, where conspiracy theories hold Jews responsible for the pandemic and its consequences. As researchers from the University of Tel Aviv write in their annual report on anti-Semitism, this raises concerns about an increase in anti-Semitism in a post-pandemic world.

The results of the report show that the social isolation as a result of the pandemic kept Jews away from those who wanted to harm them. The number of violent incidents against Jews in around 40 countries fell from 456 cases to 371 last year - roughly the level the researchers reported between 2016 and 2018.

However, it was very different online. For the researchers, a potential warning sign that hateful behavior towards Jews could intensify in the face of easing restrictions in real life. "Anti-Jewish hatred on the Internet never stays online," said Moshe Kantor, President of the World Jewish Congress. "We have to be prepared that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories can lead to physical attacks on Jews as soon as the lockdowns end."

The research team found that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blossomed once the coronavirus spread around the world in February 2020. The false theories on the net mostly claim that Jews and Israelis created and spread the virus in order to save the world with lucrative vaccines. The trend reflected an ancient form of anti-Semitism that accused Jews of spreading disease and other tragedies.

Anti-Semitic messages spread online, including worrying evidence that those repeating them came not only from extremist circles but also from "populations with no clearly defined political or ideological identity," the report said. The suspects included the Rothschild family, billionaire George Soros and ultra-Orthodox Jews who violated restrictions and among whom the virus spread. Meanwhile, large media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are taking action against racist and false postings. However, this mostly drives conspiracy theorists only to the darkest corners of the web, where they are difficult to find.

According to the report, the attacks escalated to the extent of their aggressiveness and verbal abuse as extremists spread false theories about the spread of the virus, the collapse of the global economy and who were to blame. Among the cartoons and conspiracy theories documented, the report identified a new phenomenon called "zoom bombing," in which extremists broke into video conferences between members of synagogues, Jewish community centers, and educational organizations. The goal appeared to be to publish swastikas and give anti-Semitic presentations and speeches, the report said.

9.15 a.m.
3 million Covid deaths worldwide
According to a report by the news agency “Reuters”, the number of coronavirus-related deaths worldwide exceeded the 3 million mark on Tuesday. The recent surge in new infections continues to challenge global vaccination efforts.

The global number of Covid-19 deaths is increasing again, particularly in Brazil and India. Health officials see the causes in the highly infectious mutations first discovered in the UK and South Africa, as well as general exhaustion of the public. According to the balance sheet, it took more than a year for the global death toll from the coronavirus to reach 2 million. The next 1 million deaths came in about three months.

According to a Reuters analysis, Brazil leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths, with the country accounting for one in four deaths worldwide.India reported a record increase in new infections on Monday, making it the second country after the US to have more than 100,000 new cases per day. Europe has the highest total number of deaths in any region, with almost 1.1 million deaths. The United Kingdom, Russia, France, Italy and Germany collectively account for around 60 percent of all Covid-19-related deaths in Europe.

The United States has the highest number of deaths at 555,000, accounting for about 19 percent of all deaths from Covid-19 worldwide. Cases have risen in the past three weeks, but health officials believe the country's swift vaccination campaign may prevent deaths from rising again. A third of the population has already received at least one dose of a vaccine.

At least 370.3 million people - or almost 4.75 percent of the world's population - had received a dose of a Covid 19 vaccine by Sunday, according to the latest figures from the research and data provider "Our World in Data".

MONDAY, April 05, 2021

8.43 a.m.
Illegal fines
Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Sunday that the government's ban during the second lockdown on protesters not being more than 1,000 meters from their homes to participate in protests was illegal. In the future it should no longer be possible to impose such a ban. However, the panel found that limiting the number of participants in protests during lockdowns was acceptable as it was intended to ensure that distance rules were respected.

The judges ruled that all fines given to demonstrators for violating the eviction ban must be waived. The government must also return fines that have already been paid.

In October, the government banned protesters from participating in protests more than 1,000 meters from their homes. The decision was valid for a period of two weeks. During other lockdowns, where distance restrictions also came into effect, people were still allowed to travel if they participated in a protest.

FRIDAY April 02, 2021

2:50 p.m.
Concern about green passports
The reopening of the economy and the return to the routine raise important questions about the policy behind the "green passports". An article by “Doctors for Human Rights” and the “Zulat Institute for Equality and Human Rights” fears that an expansion of the program could ultimately lead to a weakening of individual rights. The document was prepared by Attorney Shelly Kamin-Friedman with the help of public health experts. From a human rights perspective, the paper examines principles for dealing with “vaccine reluctants”.

“The Green Pass has significant advantages in opening up the economy. But the expansion of the legislation to enable the transmission of information about vaccinated people to public bodies violates the human rights of vaccinated people, ”the authors write. They say recording the decision about whether someone opted for vaccination involves confidential information that cannot be sent to others without consent. According to the authors, it is disproportionate to enact laws that violate medical confidentiality before other options are exhausted.

The authors find a legislative basis that allows employers (in this case the Ministry of Education) to disclose medical records, particularly problematic. This could in the future lead to a requirement to disclose other medical records that employers consider relevant. Transparency is crucial in making decisions about vaccination policy, and the authors added that the public should have access to the minutes of the coronavirus cabinet meeting (something Netanyahu strongly opposes). Decisions should also be based on professional criteria, the reasons for which are explained to the public. The paper also criticizes the government for its vaccination priorities, which discriminate against Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian population.

"Israel is very proud of its vaccination policy, but some decisions do not meet the criteria for the protection of human rights," says Zulat's managing director Einat Ovadia. “There is serious concern that certain decisions were not based on professional epidemiological considerations. We must ensure that the expansion of the program does not lead to other violations of individual rights. "

7.35 a.m.
Risk area Israel?
Despite the falling number of cases and incomparable vaccination success worldwide, the Federal Office of Public Health listed Israel as a risk country last week. The latest case numbers give rise to hope that this will soon change. Full length article: (tachles).

THURSDAY, April 1st, 2021

2.15 p.m.
New study on effectiveness
On Thursday, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech announced that their Covid-19 vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing the disease.

The vaccine also showed 100 percent effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 in study participants in South Africa. There is a new mutation called B1351, against which the vaccine is also said to be effective. However, the number of participants was relatively small at 800, so the numbers are not yet meaningful.

While the new vaccine efficacy rate of 91.3 percent is lower than the 95 percent originally reported in November, a number of new mutations that were not included in the original study have since spread widely around the world. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said the updated results include data on more than 12,000 people who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months. This is to enable drug manufacturers to apply for full approval in the United States.

WEDNESDAY March 31, 2021

1.45 p.m.
Pfizer shows effectiveness in adolescents
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE announced on Wednesday that their Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective for 12 to 15 year olds, and produces robust antibody responses in this target group. This paves the way for them to obtain an emergency license in the USA within a few weeks. Pfizer's vaccine is already approved for use in people aged 16 and over, and the new study provides the first evidence of how the vaccine will work in school-age adolescents as well.

In the study of 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15 years, 18 cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the placebo group. Not a single case was found in the vaccine-given group. According to the two companies, this indicates 100 percent effectiveness in preventing Covid-19.

The adolescents tolerated the vaccine well, with side effects similar to those seen in the 16-25 year olds in the adult study. The side effects for the younger group were not listed. The side effects in the adult study were generally mild to moderate pain at the injection site, headache, fever, and tiredness.
The companies also studied a subset of teenagers to measure virus-neutralizing antibody levels one month after receiving the second dose. They found that this was comparable to study participants aged 16-25 in the pivotal adult study.

After Israel's successful vaccination campaign among adults, the country is now facing its next major challenge: the immunization of 600,000 young people. The experts agree that vaccinating this younger cohort will require targeted preparation and public information. This is mainly because Israel is the first country to start vaccinating people under the age of 16, while most of the world is still focused on the elderly. This is likely to be of particular concern to parents.

8.55 a.m.
Mutation from Israel
A new mutation of the corona virus was discovered in Israel, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday. However, the available vaccines are effective against the local mutation.

So far, only a small number of Israelis have been diagnosed with the new mutation, and according to the ministry, there is no evidence that the new mutation is causing serious disease. There were first indications of a new mutation in July last year, but the number of Israeli carriers continued to decline. According to the ministry, the mutation has a low prevalence and no epidemiological significance.

The ministry stressed that the British mutation was identified in more than 90 percent of positive Covid tests done since early March. This means that it is still the predominant mutation in Israel.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced that no Israeli city was suffering from high infection rates. Currently, 51 places in Israel have moderate infection rates and only low infection rates can be found in the remaining communities.

There are currently 423 critically ill patients in Israel, 206 of whom require ventilation.

MONDAY, March 29, 2021

6:17 p.m.
Low numbers in Israel
The number of new infections every day in Israel hit the lowest rate in nine months, with just 128 confirmed cases on Sunday.

The spread of the virus was drastically slowed down after Israel's successful vaccination campaign. Israel has fully vaccinated 50.7 percent of the country, and another 56.1 percent have already received the first dose.

The number of seriously ill patients has steadily decreased in the last month, from 747 to 459 on Sunday. The daily increase in seriously ill patients and deaths has also decreased, with 26 patients currently in critical condition and 4 deaths on Sunday.

THURSDAY, March 25, 2021

12.45 p.m.
Passover by the thousands
The guidelines released by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday would allow up to 5,000 people to celebrate the coming religious and national holidays together in Israel. This is happening in the course of some easing as a result of the “Green Passport Program” for vaccinated people.

According to the guidelines, meals for Passover, Ramadan and the Easter holidays must be limited to 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
Prayer services must have assembly restrictions or only be attended by holders of the green passport. In the latter case, the meetings may be larger both inside and outside.

Ceremonies and municipal events on Yom Hashoah - Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day - are also subject to the same restrictions.
Up to 200 green passport holders can attend the National Memorial Day ceremony, up to 400 can attend the Jerusalem Yad LeBanim ceremony, and a maximum of 500 passport holders can attend the Western Wall ceremony. Visits to cemeteries are possible without restrictions.

Services will be held next week at the Western Wall, including in the indoor synagogue, which can be attended by up to 50 passport holders. Only a limited number of people are allowed to gather in the outdoor area.

Mimouna celebrations in private homes are still subject to gathering restrictions. During Ramadan and Easter, prayers can be held in churches and mosques according to the convention restrictions or only attended by green passport holders.

WEDNESDAY March 24, 2021

7.25 a.m.
Support from Germany
The German federal government is making available US $ 13.5 million to bring Holocaust survivors to Covid-19 vaccination centers around the world.
The new Holocaust Survivor Vaccine Assistance Program (HSVAP) is administered by the New York-based Claims Conference. It announced the program on Wednesday through its network of more than 300 agency partners.

The sum is intended to cover the costs of organizing vaccination appointments, transporting the elderly to and from the appointments, and coordinating follow-up care and advice.

"This additional support from the federal government will expand our efforts to over 40 countries where Holocaust survivors live," said Stuart Eizenstat, who led negotiations with the federal government on behalf of the Claims Conference. "As soon as the national governments make vaccines available, we will make sure that every survivor knows their options, has access to vaccines and does not feel left alone."

The Claims Conference estimates that there are more than 340,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, 45 percent of whom have not yet been vaccinated.

TUESDAY 23 March 2021

3:30 p.m.
Cyprus recognizes green passport
Cyprus has recognized Israel's “green passport” and will open the country to Israeli tourists from April 1st. On Wednesday before, Greece had lifted the limit for Israeli tourists, but stuck to the Covid test requirements.

According to the announcement published by the Cypriot government, vaccinated Israelis can visit Cyprus without taking a coronavirus test or going into quarantine. Unvaccinated Israelis must show a negative coronavirus test. Children under the age of 12 are excluded.

«Prepare the beaches, hotels and restaurants for Israelis waiting to visit Cyprus. Your country's recognition of the green passport will enable heaven to open up and restore tourism very quickly, ”Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.

The decision came after Ashkenazi's meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades last month, as well as ongoing efforts by the Israeli embassy in Cyprus.

MONDAY, March 22nd, 2021

9.45 a.m.
New rapid test system
In Israel, the number of new infections continues to decline steadily. On Sunday, the R value fell to 0.62 and 1.7 percent of all Covid 19 tests were positive. In light of these improvements, the Ministry of Health published new guidelines on Sunday for the fourth phase of opening up the economy.

Part of the new regulations are guidelines for the use of rapid tests. Rapid tests have the advantage that they deliver a result within 15 to 30 minutes and do not have to be transported to a laboratory. They are less sensitive than the more well-known PCR tests, but allow quick and reliable results for the purpose of the "Green Pass Program".

Starting on Sunday, companies and certain facilities that were previously only allowed access to the owners of Green Passes can set up a quick test stand at the entrance to their shop. People without a Green Pass can then enter after receiving a negative test result. Children and non-vaccinated persons are not allowed to enter places that require the possession of a passport and do not have a rapid test stand.

Entrepreneurs who want to carry out rapid tests have to finance them themselves. The cost of each test is a few dozen shekels. The business owner can order the tests from an authorized supplier. The supplier is responsible for reporting the results to the Ministry of Health.

If a person receives a positive test result, they must leave the premises immediately, go home and go into quarantine. A PCR test must also be carried out no later than 48 hours after the rapid test.

The mask requirement remains for both indoor and outdoor events.

FRIDAY March 19, 2021

1:10 p.m.
Vaccinated pilgrims welcome
In the midst of negotiations about deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines from Israel, Ukraine has allowed vaccinated pilgrims to enter for Rosh Hashanah, the country's interior ministry announced. Arsen Avakov made the statement on Friday after speaking on the phone with his Israeli counterpart Aryeh Deri.

Last year thousands of Israeli pilgrims protested because the pandemic prevented them from visiting the grave of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hassidic sect, in the Ukrainian city of Uman. Some were stranded in Belarus and Moldova for days.

Many of the pilgrims are voters for the Shas, Deri's Sephardic Orthodox party. He was a key coalition partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

In the statement on Ukraine's permission to accept vaccinated pilgrims, Avakov's office wrote that “the key condition for the implementation of this large-scale measure will be the normalization of the epidemiological situation in Ukraine and the preliminary vaccination of newcomers”.

He and Deri "discussed the possibility of Israel's support in overcoming the next wave of disease through the supply of vaccines," the statement said.

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021

9.20 a.m.
Highs in Brazil
Yesterday, Brazil reported 90,303 new infections within 24 hours, setting a new record. The number of deaths rose by 2,648.

In the country with a population of 211 million, 11.7 million infections and 284,775 deaths have been recorded so far. Since the beginning of the pandemic, President Jair Bolsonaro has vehemently rejected the recognized measures to protect against the virus. Instead of a mask requirement or stricter lockdowns, Bolsonaro recently recommended cures for Covid-19, the effect of which has not been scientifically proven.

New survey results from “Datafolha” show that the dissatisfaction of Brazilians with their president has reached new heights. 54 percent of those surveyed reported that they found Bolsonaro's handling of the crisis “bad” or “terrible”. (mirror)

WEDNESDAY 17th March 2021

1:10 p.m.
Digital surveillance approved
The Israeli Knesset today passed a law that enables digital surveillance of all people entering Israel who are required to be quarantined due to Covid-19.

All immigrants who are supposed to isolate themselves in their homes will be equipped with digital tracking bracelets or other digital tracking options, including their cell phones. The law restricts the use of the data for enforcement purposes only. These should also only be able to be saved for one month. Those who refuse digital surveillance have to isolate themselves in a state quarantine facility.

While the Ministry of Health will have the opportunity to reach out to technology companies to develop additional media for digital surveillance, this will be limited to measures that do not collect information beyond what is necessary.

Children under 14 years of age and people who have received special permission from an exception committee are exempt from the new provisions.

At a meeting of the Constitutional Committee on Thursday, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch estimated that 5,000 digital wristbands will be available as of this week and that around 30,000 more will be purchased over the next three months.

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021

1:05 p.m.
The price of immunity
Israel has so far spent around $ 787,766,720 (2.6 billion shekels) doing business with various drug dealers to buy vaccines against Covid-19. This emerges from data released at a meeting of the Knesset finance committee on Tuesday.

The sum was used to buy vaccines from US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca. The latter manufacturer's vaccines are currently not administered to Israel or some European countries.

So far it is known whether Israel bought the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

Matan Mor, a health ministry official, estimated that Israel would invest another 2.5 billion shekels to buy more vaccines.

MONDAY, March 15, 2021

8:20 p.m.
Ichilov hospital closes corona station
Ichliov Hospital in Tel Aviv closed its last corona ward today. At the height of the pandemic, there were still six active corona stations in the hospital. The 18 corona patients who remain are not yet fully vaccinated and should be housed in a separate department in the regular intensive care unit. The Schiba Hospital in Tel Aviv has now also closed four of its corona stations.

In the past few weeks, the number of new infections and seriously ill patients in Israel has decreased significantly. So far 5.2 million people have received their first vaccination and 4.2 million their second vaccination.

However, the number of dead has also increased in Israel. On Monday, the Ministry of Health announced that 6,011 people have died linked to the virus since the pandemic began. At the turn of the year the number of deaths was around 3,400.

11.10 a.m.
Immunity for half a year
The duration of immunity offered by the Covid-19 vaccines is not yet known. Coronavirus officer Nachmann Ash, however, told Arm Radio on Monday morning that this “will probably last longer than half a year”.

Ash explained that until one can say more precisely the duration of immunity depends on numerous factors. Among other things, from the results of the first studies, the epidemiological data, whether the vaccines protect against the new mutations and to what extent vaccinated people will become infected with Covid above the currently expected rates. Currently, however, Ash expects the duration of immunity to last longer than six months. However, the duration cannot be determined with certainty in the near future.

Ash also shared his optimism and surprise about the drop in Covid numbers, describing Sunday's numbers as "very good".

FRIDAY March 12th 2021

9.30 a.m.
Criticism of entry restriction
Supreme Court justices criticized Israel's decision to restrict the entry of nationals into the country and heard petitions to overturn the decision on Wednesday.

A state official admitted that Israel currently has no data on the number of Israelis applying for entry. In addition, state records show returning Israelis failing to adhere to quarantine in state facilities.

After the hearing, the court issued a conditional order instructing the state to explain why the restrictions were not lifted. Currently, the number of Israelis allowed into the country per day is limited to 3,000 and the government has also drawn up a list of airports that are allowed to fly into Israel.

The President of the Supreme Court, Esther Hayut, along with Judges Neal Hendel and Isaac Amit, asked for the number of Israelis who wanted to return to Israel. "I asked for the numbers before, but nothing happened," said Hayut.

THURSDAY, March 11th, 2021

4:12 p.m.
New study on Passover
A year after Covid-19 hit Jewish communities in the US, a scientific study has confirmed what many have long believed: gatherings during the week during Purim served as super-spreader events.

A study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open concluded that the coronavirus spread to Orthodox communities across the country on Purim last spring. This happened even before public warnings of the dangers of large gatherings were issued.

The authors, four Orthodox Jewish doctors, claim their work provides important guidance for public health officials to guide Americans through the next phase of the pandemic. Dr. Avi Rosenberg, a kidney pathologist at Johns Hopkins University and one of the authors, said of Purim in particular: “The instructions came a week late. The mask mandate, the national lockdown, and the proclamation of a pandemic only followed on Purim. "

According to the authors, the most important result of their work is the realization that an interplay between the time of the holiday and the lack of public guidance on the pandemic allowed the disease to spread in Orthodox communities. The study found that symptoms appeared within a week in all five states studied. This suggests that the close networking of Orthodox communities between states should be taken into account when a pandemic breaks out.

The study, published a few weeks before Passover, shows that public health instructions tailored to religious communities are still relevant. With millions of Americans vaccinated, many families are hoping to gather for Passover after a year of Jewish holidays in isolation. However, since most of the country has not yet been vaccinated, the risk of premature congregation is significant for most.

1 p.m.
Relaxations with difficulty
Just four days after the easing, Israel's consumers are reacting with excitement and crowding malls, increasing sales in stores and keeping waiters busy taking orders in restaurants and cafes.

Companies, on the other hand, were only able to enjoy the reopening to a limited extent. Many are labor shortages and there are uncertainties about the government support many companies should receive. Some also complain about the corona measures that business people now have to adhere to.

Figures released on Wednesday by the Bank of Israel show that since the first easing in mid-February, consumer spending has recovered in many sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Among these were tourism, education, leisure activities and restaurants. Still, spending remains much lower than it was before the pandemic began.

WEDNESDAY March 10, 2021

8.10 a.m.
Chile in the fast lane
Chile has vaccinated the most people per 100 inhabitants worldwide in the last seven days, overtaking Israel. "Today we have a new reason to be proud: Chile took first place in the global ranking of the doses administered per 100 inhabitants," wrote the government of the South American country on Twitter on Tuesday after the data from the statistics portal "Our World in Data" had become known.

According to this, Chile has administered 1.08 doses per day per 100 inhabitants on average for the past seven days, while the average in Israel is 1.03. In total, the country of 18 million people has administered at least one dose to 4,176.094 million people since its vaccination campaign began in December. That corresponds to more than 21 percent of the population. On Monday, Chile registered a daily record of 319,014 vaccinated, as the newspaper «La Tercera» reported.

Chile, along with Mexico and Costa Rica, were among the first countries in Latin America to start vaccinating the population. The country also began to negotiate early to acquire the vaccines. It was thus possible to secure 35 million cans, 10 million of which have already arrived. Most of them come from the Chinese company Sinovac. (Look)

MONDAY, March 8th, 2021

4:08 p.m.
Full funeral in Brooklyn
On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of men broke Covid-19 restrictions to gather for the funeral of Yechezkel Roth, a Hasidic rabbi in the neighborhood.

Roth died of a heart attack on Sunday morning at the age of 86. More people turned up for the funeral in Brooklyn than could fit in the building, so hundreds gathered outside on the street. A livestream video of the funeral posted on the local news site BoroPark24 shows a group of men standing close to you in a classroom. Hardly any of the participants wore a mask. (Boropark24)

The funeral is the last big gathering of the crowd last summer - funerals, weddings, and the more regular synagogues and study halls - held in Brooklyn's Hasidic communities. During the last four weeks, in which New York struggled with a relatively high test positivity rate of 7.16 percent, they did not fail to appear.

The Orthodox community has lost a number of influential rabbis since the pandemic began, with several dying of Covid-19. The funerals that followed her death repeatedly attracted large crowds who did not adhere to rules of distance or hygiene.

Roth, also known as the Karlsburger Rebbe, was a respected expert on Jewish law and the author of several volumes of jurisprudence. Roth served as the leader of the Satmar Hasidic Congregation in Jerusalem but later moved to Borough Park at the request of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the original leader of the Satmar Hasidic Congregation in Brooklyn. Even after his move, Roth spent several months each year in Israel, where he will be buried.

8.00 a.m.
Exit from lockdown
After millions of Israelis have already been vaccinated and infection rates in the country are falling steadily, Israel ended its third lockdown on Sunday and began reopening. The reopening comes at a time when 41 percent of the country are fully vaccinated and 55 percent have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

However, not all restrictions have been relaxed. A mask mandate, as well as capacity restrictions and distance rules, as well as assembly bans remain in place. Fully vaccinated Israelis, however, will be able to benefit from “green passports”, which confirm their immunity status and allow them to dine indoors and gather in larger groups.

At Ben Gurion Airport, which has been largely closed since January, 1,000 people can enter the country every day. The number is set to rise to 3,000 later this week, according to the Times of Israel.

Israel's vaccination campaign has had an impact since it began in December. According to Eran Segal, a computer biologist at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, Israel has seen a 71 percent reduction in deaths and 55 percent fewer cases overall since the peak of the pandemic in mid-January.

Israel currently has the fastest vaccination rate of any country in the world, although Palestinians in the West Bank were not included in the country's vaccination campaign. The Israeli military announced last week that it would start vaccinating Palestinians who live in the West Bank and work in Israel.

When the country reopens, it is unclear whether the infections will remain minor. After the infection rate rose slightly on Friday, Nachman Ash said the country could still go into a fourth lockdown if necessary. Ash also noted that the country would need to vaccinate 2 million more Israelis before herd immunity would be achieved.

The reopening is seen by some as a political move by Benjamin Netanyahu, as in just three weeks Israel will vote for the fourth time in two years. Netanyahu's campaign has underscored his role in bringing the country back to normal. The Prime Minister posted a photo on Facebook on Sunday in which he was drinking coffee with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, in a street café.

FRIDAY, March 5th, 2021

9.55 a.m.
Vaccinations at designated checkpoints
The Israeli campaign to vaccinate Palestinians with work permits in Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank is slated to begin this Sunday. Another pilot project at a checkpoint started on Thursday.

The 120,000 Palestinian workers were given vaccines from Moderna. The coordinator of government activities in the territories said the vaccinations will take place on sites located at eight checkpoints in the West Bank and four settlements. The West Bank and Gaza Strip, where a total of 5.2 million Palestinians live, have received around 34,700 doses of vaccine so far. These came from small donations from Israel and Russia as well as from 20,000 donations from the United Arab Emirates to Gaza.

The Palestinians have accused Israel of ignoring its obligations as an occupying power because they were not included in its vaccination program. However, Israeli officials claim that under the Oslo Peace Accords, the Palestinian Ministry of Health is responsible.

The Palestinian workers are vaccinated on a voluntary basis, and "COGAT" said employers knew that they could not force workers to vaccinate. Employers are responsible for scheduling appointments and are not allowed to come to the facilities independently. The vaccination centers are to be set up on the Israeli side of the checkpoints. The idea is that workers get a dose when they return to the West Bank after work.

The Israeli authorities said they were also planning an educational campaign to encourage workers to get vaccinated, thereby refuting conspiracy theories about the vaccine. One of the theories I put up on social media ridiculed workers as “lab rats”. COGAT has produced videos in Arabic with information about the vaccine's benefits and safety for social media, and officials are also planning to be interviewed on the Palestinian media.

THURSDAY, March 4th, 2021

11.20 a.m.
No tracing possible
Israeli efforts to stop the spread of the South African variant of the coronavirus, including the closure of Ben Gurion Airport last month, showed little results. To date, over 450 cases of the mutation have been diagnosed in Israel, and health experts estimate a dozen more will become infected every day.

The health ministry's committees for the vaccination campaign and pandemic said two weeks ago that the spread of the mutation could no longer be traced and that it was spreading uncontrollably. The focus on mutations should prevent a scenario in which Israel will be forced to grapple with a more infectious and virulent strain of the coronavirus that may turn out to be less sensitive to the Pfizer vaccine. However, some ministers had warned that closing the airport would not prevent the mutation from reaching the country.

Israel had already failed to stop the introduction of the British variant, which is responsible for 90 percent of the newly confirmed Covid-19 cases. Now the South African variant has also been diagnosed in hundreds of patients, despite the measures and the isolation of passengers in hotels.

At the same time, reports have shown that other mutations have already reached Israel. Among other things, the mutation from California, which was discovered in one case in a random test, three cases of the mutation from New York and one case of a variant from Uganda.

Tests have shown the Pfizer vaccine to be effective against the British mutation, but experts fear that other variants may be less responsive to the vaccines. The South African variant is the only one that has so far been associated with a lower effectiveness of the vaccine. Mutations in the protein packaging that the virus uses to bind to cells are worrying experts. These changes represent a huge difference between the South African mutation and the original coronavirus for which the vaccines were developed.

WEDNESDAY 03 March 2021

1:50 p.m.
Insufficient enforcement
During the third lockdown in Israel, dozens of ultra-Orthodox educational institutions had opened their doors daily in violation of coronavirus restrictions.

Law enforcement officials fined only 77 Haredi institutions, according to data the government submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The data, which were only published as a result of the petition by "The Israel Religion Action Center", thus prove insufficient enforcement of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The figures show that 77 ultra-Orthodox schools fined during the lockdown, compared to 91 secular schools, five Arab schools and two "unassigned" schools. However, there is a high likelihood that these numbers will be inaccurate and the total number of fines for schools in cities with a predominantly or highly ultra-Orthodox population will be higher.

TUESDAY, March 2nd, 2021

1:05 p.m.
New co-production planned
Austria's Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announced that his country and Denmark no longer intend to rely exclusively on the EU for the production of coronavirus vaccines. Both countries will work with Israel in the future to manufacture second-generation vaccines.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz plans to travel to Israel with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about cooperation in vaccine research and production.

While Israel has already vaccinated a large part of its population, the EU continues to be criticized for its slow adoption of vaccines. Kurz said in a statement on Tuesday to the Austrian press agency that it was fundamentally right to pursue a Europe-wide approach to vaccinations. However, the European Medicines Agency is too slow in approving the vaccines, so that delivery bottlenecks can currently be observed.

7.30 am
Hasid been relegated to the plane
Frontier Airlines has been accused of anti-Semitism after videos were circulated online of the airline throwing a Hasidic family off a plane for violating their mask requirements.

The family claims that all family members, except for an 18-month-old baby, were properly masked on the Sunday evening flight from Miami to New York City. This is also evident from videos posted by OJPAC, an Orthodox Jewish advocacy group. (twitter)

The airline says the family did not have to leave the plane because of the baby, but that adults in the group did not wear masks either. The Anti-Defamation League office in New York, New Jersey, called for a "full and transparent investigation" into the incident.

Although it is unclear what led to the eviction, the videos posted by OJPAC show several Hasidic Jews standing in the aisle of an airplane, all wearing masks. Several people say in the videos that the only unmasked passenger is the baby and that the children just took off their masks for a moment to eat a snack.

In another video, passengers claim that the airline's employees clapped each other's hands after the family got off the plane.
"I saw them congratulating each other and saying: The Jews deserve this" said a man.

Frontier wrote on Twitter that the family had not followed the flight attendants' instructions. “Members of a large group, including adults, refused to wear masks as Flight 2878 prepared to depart from MIA-LGA. Repeated requests for compliance with federal law required the family to be removed from the plane. The problem did not come from a child under the age of 2. "

A passenger told Hamodia, a Haredi Orthodox publication, that 15 police officers responded to the incident. According to Hamodia, the flight was finally canceled due to the incident. (Hamodia)

MONDAY, March 1st, 2021

8.40 a.m.
Approval for Johnson & Johnson
The US FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has cleared Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine. This makes it the third vaccine approved for use against the coronavirus in the United States.

The approval is a boost to US vaccine efforts, which after a slow start, are now picking up speed. Approximately 47.2 million people in the US have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday. Johnson & Johnson of New Jersey said they will ship 20 million cans within the US by the end of March. The company plans to release 100 million cans in the first half of 2021.

The doses can be kept in a standard refrigerator, as opposed to the ultra-cold conditions required for the other two vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech. A global clinical study showed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 66 percent effective against various coronavirus variants and 85 percent protected against severe disease.

FRIDAY, February 26th, 2021

4.10 p.m.
R-value increases again
After Israel began reopening its economy after a six-week lockdown, the downward trend in Covid-19 infections has reversed. According to a report by the National Military Intelligence Center on the coronavirus released on Friday, the coefficient of infection is increasing again and the number of patients in critical condition remains high (over 800).

It is expected that the R-value will exceed 1 within a few days if the numbers do not change. If the R value rises above 1, each infected person infects more than one other person on average, so that it is clear that the virus is spreading faster instead of withdrawing.

Given the rapid spread of the virus and the large proportion of the population that has not yet been vaccinated, the authors recommend that the next steps to reopen the economy should be reconsidered.

About 12 percent of people over 50 (excluding those who have already recovered) have not yet received their first dose of the vaccine. The report also clearly mentions the increase in severe disease courses in younger patients, who now account for around half of the new serious cases.

11.10 a.m.
New study on British mutation
The British variant of the coronavirus has contributed significantly to the increase in the number of serious illnesses, according to newly published research by the Clalit Health Maintenance Organization.

The study was conducted on around 50,000 unvaccinated people who contracted the coronavirus in January and February 2021. The data show an increase of 70 percent among severe disease courses, compared to data from 60,000 infected people in the past few months.

This indicates that the British variant, B.1.1.7, has properties that distinguish it from the "original" Covid-19. The higher infection rate has been the most noticeable difference so far. However, it is now becoming apparent that the new mutation will also bring with it a more serious disease. Israeli doctors reported that coronavirus patients are now getting younger than before and in many cases more seriously ill than the first and second outbreaks. The deterioration in health should also start much faster than before.

The British variant apparently arrived in Israel in December and multiplied in confirmed groups within a few weeks. Health Department data shows the mutation is present in more than 90 percent of people who test positive for the virus. This explains why, despite the start of the vaccination campaign in January and February, the number of seriously ill patients has barely decreased.

THURSDAY, February 25, 2021

9.40 a.m.
Party before curfew
Hundreds of people broke coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday evening and celebrated Purim parties outdoors in Tel Aviv. One day before a three-day night curfew due to the national holidays is due to begin.

Coronavirus officer Nachman Ash said it was "very shocking that some are behaving this way, even though the number of infections is still high".

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein condemned the gatherings on Thursday in a Facebook post: “Participants in such infection-spreading parties must know - the increase in infection is signed with their names. Companies will shut down because of you, the loss of life will be on your conscience, ”he wrote. "You see the situation, you see how young people get seriously ill, how death brings every age."

WEDNESDAY, February 24, 2021

9.15 a.m.
Fear of Purim
The Israeli government approved a nightly curfew on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Tuesday in hopes of preventing Israelis from attending Purim celebrations.

The curfew applies daily from 8:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper was the only one who did not vote for the curfew and abstained from voting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed during a visit to a vaccination center in Acre that the country was “still in the race against the virus, against the raging mutations. For this reason, we have to survive the next few days, while the vaccination campaign for the vulnerable population groups is being completed. " On Monday, Netanyahu said Israel "must do everything it can to get through the holiday with as few infections and deaths as possible," adding that authorities must prevent parties and gatherings.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Kan Bet public radio, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the cabinet had been informed of a surge in alcohol sales and invitations to social media events to celebrate the festival on Thursday evening. "To my great regret, I think that we will not get by without restrictions". In weighing the options, Edelstein said that "a nightly curfew" is planned to allow people to read the megillah while preventing parties.

MONDAY, February 22nd, 2021

5 p.m.
Information on non-vaccinated people
The Knesset on Monday approved the first reading of a bill authorizing the disclosure of identification information and contact details of Israelis who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus to local authorities and the Ministry of Education.