Israel closes Ben Gurion airport to curb infections


Israel closes Ben Gurion airport to curb infections

strains from South Africa, California and the United Kingdom

Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv./AFP

The country that supplies the most vaccines in the world tightens its confinement restrictions. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Israel is closing Ben Gurion International Airport, its main entry and exit gate. «We close the sky in a hermetic way, except for rare exceptions, to prevent the entry of new mutations of the virus and ensure the success of the vaccination campaign, “announced Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

The initial closure is six days, but the Ministry of Health announced that if what is sought is to stop the entry of new strains, the closure should last “weeks.” In the country, cases of strains from South Africa, California and, above all, from the United Kingdom, the latter is the culprit of 50% of the new cases that are detected, according to Nachman Ash, head of the fight against the virus.

The mass vaccination campaign reaches 3.7 million doses, exceeds one million inhabitants with the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the country is about to complete a month in confinement, but infections are not stopped and the situation in hospitals is complicated. The State is the world leader in vaccination, a record that has been eclipsed by a month of January that is already the deadliest since the start of the pandemic with more than a thousand deaths.

It is too early to have concrete data, but experts are analyzing the effects of the campaign that started on December 19. «In the first days we detected thousands of infections among people who took the first dose, although the vaccine has managed to the effects are milder and there are fewer medical complications, ”explains Professor Eyal Leshem of Sheba Medical Center (SMC). Leshem points out that “vaccinated people, even with a single dose, have less risk of catching and spreading.”

At Hadassah Hospital, the country’s main referral center, Professor Dror Mevorach is one of the voices authorized to speak about the pandemic and stresses that “the situation generated by the vaccine at the moment it’s promising and it has managed to reduce the number of hospitalizations among those over 60, who were the first to be vaccinated. Regarding those infected after the first dose, he believes that “it should not be given the second because they already produce enough antibodies.” Leshem and Mevorach agree that the vaccine “is not the end of the pandemic, but it will help make life more bearable” and ask for time to draw conclusions.

In the late afternoon Hadassah announced that its plants for covid-19 were full with 142 patients, 87 of them in critical condition, and they will not be able to receive more patients.

Immunize children

Most of the schools have been closed in Israel for three weeks, although in the case of ultra-Orthodox Jews some of the rabbis keep their schools open despite the ban. After reducing the vaccination age to 16 years, Dr. David Greenberg, head of the pediatric unit at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, asked to extend it to children because “we see that due to the new strains increase infections between them and until the children are vaccinated we will not be able to achieve group immunity “, the Ynet portal collected. So far the cases registered in children are asymptomatic, but several adolescents have had to be hospitalized.

Despite being one of the sectors of the population most affected by the virus, part of the ultra-Orthodox community resists accept restrictions and they defy the norms imposed by the authorities. During the weekend, incidents with the security forces were recorded in places such as Bnei Brak (south of Tel Aviv) or the Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem, with dozens of detainees and at least four officers injured.


Tel Aviv, Israel, Jerusalem, Vaccines, Coronavirus COVID-19