JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister warned citizens against the spread of the new, highly infectious variant of coronavirus on Sunday and urged them to vaccinate.
Naftali Bennett told ministers that there was already community transmission of the omicron variant in Israel and a rise in the country’s coronavirus infection rate. He called the omicron variant “very infectious.”
“It must be understood that the collective and national protection that the state provides is not enough,” Bennett said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. He urged Israelis that “every citizen must see to themselves, their family, and their children. Don’t rely on the neighbors to vaccinate themselves and their child. It won’t help much.”
Israel rolled out a world-leading vaccination campaign, and more than 4.1 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The country’s health ministry has reported at least 134 confirmed cases of the omicron variant since its emergence in late November.
Israel largely closed its international borders after the emergence of the omicron variant. Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter, and all Israelis arriving from overseas are required to quarantine — including those vaccinated.
Israel has recorded at least 8,232 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
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