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Health officials: We don’t know enough about Omicron and vaccines to let guard down

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Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash and coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said Sunday that it was too early for Israel to let its guard down over the highly mutated Omicron coronavirus variant.

“It is impossible to issue a call for calm over the Omicron variant,” Ash told the Kan public broadcaster.

The health official added that the strain is “still spreading in South Africa and we do not know the data regarding its resistance to the vaccine.”

Ash also addressed the matter of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s wife Gilat taking their children on a vacation overseas just days after the premier recommended that Israelis not travel abroad and shuttered the country to tourists to prevent an outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant.

“Elected officials are expected to set a personal example, but the question of family members is more complex,” Ash said.

“In general, I say that this is not the time to travel abroad because of the fear of the new variant. In principle, it would be good if [Gilat Bennett] had stayed in the country, but I do not know all the considerations,” Ash said.

Meanwhile, coronavirus czar Salman Zarka, who is........

© The Times of Israel

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