About 50% infected adults in Covid-19 Delta variant outbreak in Israel fully vaccinated: Report
About half of the adults who tested positive for the Delta variant of the coronavirus were fully immunised with the Pfizer vaccine, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Friday. Also, 90% of the new infections were caused by the Delta variant, the WSJ report showed citing Ran Balicer, who leads an expert advisory panel on Covid-19 for the government.
Meanwhile, children below the age of 12 accounted for about half of the infections and most of them were not vaccinated against the disease, the report also showed.
The outbreak has pushed the Israeli government to reimpose the indoor mask rule and other similar measures to prevent a flare-up in cases due to the highly transmissible strain. Earlier on Friday, the country’s health ministry reimposed the rule that required people to wear facemasks in enclosed public spaces following a spike in the number of daily new infections. The rule was dropped 10 days ago. However, the decision has been reversed after the country reported more than 100 new cases for the past four days. On Thursday, 227 people tested positive for the disease.
“The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transmission dynamics,” WSJ quoted Prof Balicer as saying on Friday. The country’s vaccination program was widely regarded as one among the fastest and successful and around 80% of the adult population (age 16 above) have received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Nachman Ash, the head of Israel’s pandemic response task force, also said that the rise in cases is “likely” due to the highly contagious Delta variant. “We are seeing a doubling every few days. Another thing that's worrying is that the infections are spreading. If we had two cities where most of the infections were, we would have more cities where the numbers are rising and communities where the cases are going up,” news agency AFP quoted Ash as saying.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, only weeks into office, said that the safety of the citizens was his government’s immediate priority. “Our goal at the moment, first and foremost, is to safeguard the citizens of Israel from the Delta variant that is running amok in the world,” WSJ quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The Delta variant or the B.1.617.2 was first identified in India during late 2020 and is now prevalent in more than 70 countries across the world. World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the variant “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far,” according to a news report by the Associated Press.
(With agency inputs)