- Israel lifted all Covid restrictions in early June after its world-leading vaccination campaign.
- The Delta mutation outbreak caused the authorities to quickly resume wearing masks and tighten travel regulations.
- Insider told three Israelis about their frustrations as the pandemic is about to end.
- For more stories, please visit Business Insider.
After the most successful Covid vaccination program in the world, Israel cancelled social distancing and mask requirements in early June.
Then, due to the arrival of the Delta variant, the number of cases was small but rising, prompting the government to bring masks back to indoor spaces, announce vaccinations for children, and conduct large-scale testing of passengers arriving at the airport.
The authorities are determined to avoid another surge. There are currently only 33 serious cases in Israel, and an average of 321 new cases are added every day for 7 days, while the number of cases in the initial stage of vaccination in January is about 8,600.
But currently 13,000 students and teachers are quarantined, and the Minister of the Interior has threatened to close Ben Gurion Airport if the number of cases continues to increase.
For the first country to use Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to get rid of the pandemic, the increasing number of cases is worrying.
A study released this week showed that this vaccine is Only 64% are effective in preventing the spread of Delta variants, but 93% are effective in preventing hospitalization.
Miriam Britz-Kohn, a 49-year-old mother of three children, lives in Binya Mina in the north of the country. The Delta variant was first observed in Israel around June 20.
Her son’s school informed her that the first grade child tested positive and quickly sent a mobile testing center to monitor for any spread. “Binya Mina is a small place, so it has had a big impact in the town,” she said.
“I think we defeated Corona. We felt good about it, but then it affected our community, which was a wake-up call. The reality is that it fluctuates up and down, and it is impossible to get rid of things completely, at least in the near future. The future.”
Some of her neighbors stayed at home to avoid infection before being vaccinated, and have now stopped sending their children to school, fearing that they will bring home a variant of Covid that is more easily spread.
Israel is already vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 15, and the increasing number of cases encourages more parents to vaccinate their children.
Britz-Kohn said many people are now vaccinating their teenagers to avoid having to isolate the entire family when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
Her middle child, 13 years old, has not yet been vaccinated, but Britz-Kohn said he has been infected with Covid, so he should have antibodies.
She said she had “complex feelings” about getting him vaccinated because his age made him less likely to have severe coronavirus symptoms. Now, given the increasing number of cases, she plans to get him vaccinated.
Shlomit Levy, a senior nurse working at Tel Hashomer Hospital, has never stopped wearing masks in workplaces and shops, even if the rule was lifted within three weeks.
“Everyone should wear one,” she said. “Because if we all do this, we can keep transmission low, but let life go on.”
Levy told Insider that she felt that masks kept her and many of her colleagues safe for the year before the vaccination. She works in the cancer department and said that although some colleagues were infected with the new coronavirus, they were probably infected outside the hospital.
Now, she is a member of a research team that regularly tests antibodies to understand how long the protective effect of the vaccine can last. She worries that as her antibody levels drop, she may be infected with new mutations.
“I am wearing an N95 mask, so it gives me some protection and also helps prevent transmission. I am worried not only for myself, but also for my patients. Some of them cannot be vaccinated because they have received cancer treatment. “
28-year-old May Bejach is a university student in Tel Aviv, where she was born and raised, and she is afraid of being blocked again. When Covid first appeared and most of her teaching was online, she found it “very difficult”.
“This city that never sleeps slept for a year. Everything is closed and the streets are dead. This is terrible,” she told Insider.
“When things returned to normal, I felt very happy,” she said, adding that she did not expect to be completely locked down again because the number of cases is still very small, and 65.2% of people are fully vaccinated, and few are seriously ill. .
She doesn’t know how she will deal with another blockade. “We were vaccinated very early, which means that we are now better prepared for what is happening. We need to wear masks carefully and hope that the numbers are kept low so that we don’t need to disturb us again. life.”
Bejach is still planning a trip to Italy, but she had to cancel the trip during the first lockdown. She said that with the arrival of the new crown virus again, the increase in airport testing and new regulations may be “just things we have to get used to.”
She is scheduled to fly there on August 22. “The new restrictions make me think the situation will get worse and they may cancel our flights again.”