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Israel Update 11.3.21



Tel Aviv-based IsraAid has launched the first of several missions to help poor countries build their COVID-19 vaccination programmes. A seven-member team landed in the small African state of Eswatini  (formerly Swaziland) on Monday for a two-week visit by government invitation to help with logistics and public education ahead of the vaccine rollout. Read more here


The leaders of Israel, Austria and Denmark announced  last Thursday an alliance for joint research and development of pandemic-beating drugs, as well as joint investment on coronavirus vaccine production. Read more here


The Czech and Hungarian prime ministers are visiting Israel this week to discuss co-operation on COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine production, Read more here


A senior delegation of Brazilian government officials arrived in Israel Sunday for a series of meetings with Israeli counterparts about efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including an Israeli-developed nasal spray against COVID-19. Read more here



(Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)


2,802 (4,143)new cases of the coronavirus were registered in Israel on Wednesday. The number of patients in serious condition dropped to 645 (699) of whom 211 (224) were intubated. The death toll is 5,955 (5,815). Read more here


Data released on Monday indicated the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine in Israel: Out of those who were tested for the coronavirus at least a week after their second shot, fewer than 1% tested positive, and fewer than 0.2% developed COVID-19 symptoms. Read more here


Israel is registering 71% fewer daily deaths and 45% fewer critically ill patients since January. Read more here


Despite a government decision allowing restaurants to reopen starting last Sunday, at least half will initially remain closed as they struggle to recover, with some waiting until after Passover to re-open. Read more here




El Al on Monday launched a pilot programme at Ben Gurion Airport of rapid coronavirus testing for unvaccinated passengers before they boarded flights. Test results are received within 15-20 minutes. The majority of those requiring tests were children who are not yet inoculated. Read more here




New Israeli technology can give health authorities advance warning before populations are hit by coronavirus variants that are extra-transmissible or more likely to breach vaccine protection.Researchers at Ben Gurion University say they have found a way to easily and cheaply get a big-picture view of the variants’ spread, with an “upgrade” to the coronavirus sewage monitoring programmes already used by many countries.Read more here


A small-scale study conducted in Israel has found coronavirus antibodies in the breastmilk of vaccinated mothers .Read more here


Meuhedet Healthcare Services reported on Monday, based on an analysis of more than 100,000 members, that (Pfizer) vaccine effectiveness reaches 96 percent on the fifteenth day after full vaccination. From days 7 to 14, it is 89%. Read more here


Healthy people taking aspirin regularly to prevent cardiovascular disease had a 29% lower likelihood of Covid-19 infection compared to aspirin non-users, according to an Israeli observational epidemiological study. Read more here





Israel has so far vaccinated some 600 children between the ages of 12 and 16 in at-risk groups with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and no significant side effects have been recorded. Read more here


700 Palestinian workers were vaccinated  last Thursday at a checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel. The full vaccination programme for 120,000 Palestinians legally employed in Israel and in West Bank communities started earlier this week. Read more here


Hiyi Ouanina  is one of the first Palestinian workers gratefully to receive the vaccine offered to her by Israel.  Read more here


With coronavirus cases rising, Arab Israeli health officials say they are facing an uphill battle to crush the infection curve before the advent of the Ramadan holiday in about a month. Health officials attribute the low vaccination turnout among Arab Israelis to the spread of rumours on social media. Read more here


Israel will allow 700 Jordanian labourers entry into the country to work in hotels in Eilat, in anticipation of an expected boom in tourism this coming Passover holiday.  They will  have received  two doses of coronavirus vaccine and will have isolated in coronavirus hotels before beginning their employment.  Read more here




Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Centre has decreed that unvaccinated medical staff  (unless they have acquired some level of immunity by recovering from the virus)  can no longer treat patients and will have to work in administrative roles or any other position that the hospital sees fit.

A Health Ministry directive calls for unvaccinated staff and students to be barred from working in certain departments across Israeli hospitals and in community healthcare, including wards for patients in a state of immunosuppression, including oncology, pre-term infants and bone marrow transplant patients. The Health Ministry directive also stated: “A new employee who refuses to be vaccinated should not be hired at a medical institution.” Read more here


The city of Tel Aviv on Wednesday decided to ban all unvaccinated school and kindergarten teachers from entering educational facilities. Read more here




Israel is reportedly renewing a plan to supply surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of friendly nations. Even though the plan was frozen,  deliveries had already landed in Honduras and the Czech Republic. Reportedly, other countries expected to receive doses were Cyprus, Mauritania, Hungary, Guatemala, the Maldives, San Marino, Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya, Uganda and Guinea.  Read more here




Israel on Tuesday announced it was sending a medical team to Equatorial Guinea, following deadly blasts at a military camp in the African country, close to residential areas.A total of 615 people were injured in Sunday’s accidental blasts. The delegation  includes intensive care physicians, and paediatricians. Read more here


A humanitarian delegation of Israeli specialists in the field of oculoplasty (plastic surgery for the eyes) recently carried out procedures on 150  Azeri soldiers wounded in the war with Armenia, including eye socket restoration, eyelid surgery and prosthetic eyes.
Read more here




Israel, Cyprus and Greece on Monday signed an initial agreement on laying the world’s longest undersea power cable linking their electricity grids.Read more here




An Iranian tanker, Emerald, deliberately spilled oil into Israel’s coastal waters, according to Lloyd’s List, a leading international shipping journal.
Read more here


About 57 beaches are now safe for the public to use, following intensive cleaning efforts in the wake of a disastrous oil spill last month that polluted almost the entire length of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline and killed vast swathes of wildlife. Read more here




In a recent trial, Israel’s D-Fend anti-drone technology hacked three attacking drones within 10 seconds. D-Fend’s unique radio-frequency cyber solution is actively deployed in the U.S. by the Departments of Defence and Homeland Security, and the FBI. Read more here




The peace agreements between Israel and its new Arab allies in the region have opened the Persian Gulf to Israeli intelligence. Planned Iranian terrorist attacks on Israeli, Emirati, and American embassies in a country in east Africa were thwarted in January thanks to this new intelligence cooperation. Read more here




Israel’s satellite communications provider Spacecom uses the Amos-17 satellite to provide health and educational services to underserved communities in Africa. The Amos-17’s cloud platform can function as a school in the morning, a clinic in the afternoon, and as an internet cafe in the evening. Read more here




Hebrew University researchers have developed a cancer drug without testing it on animals by using a chip that simulates the human body. Read more here


Israeli startup Belkin Laser has developed an alternative laser treatment for glaucoma that is fast, guided by sophisticated image-processing software, and potentially can be offered by any of the 200,000 general ophthalmologists worldwide.Read more here




FaceBook is beginning the rollout of Instagram Lite, which was built in Tel Aviv, in 170 countries. Read more here




Col. Nissim Tourgeman, head of the IDF Home Front Command in the Lower Galilee, said Tuesday that the assistance the army provided to 15 Arab local authorities in his region has changed attitudes among the population. “It became natural to see the Home Front Command soldiers in the Arab towns,” he said. “Now, we see more and more Arab youth that want to join the Home Front Command and volunteer.” Read more here