Israel Curbs Easing COVID Restrictions As Delta Rate Climbs

( The more severe “Delta” variant of the COVID-19 virus that ravaged India has apparently made its way to Israel. More than a hundred new cases a day for several days in a row were identified as the Delta variant — increasing the morbidity rate to levels not seen in Israel for months.

As a result, on Wednesday, the new government’s coronavirus cabinet reneged on lifting certain COVID restrictions. Just last week Israel had lifted the last coronavirus restriction it had in place – namely the indoor mask requirement.

Despite over 80% of Israel’s adult population fully vaccinated, many of the new Delta variant cases were found among the vaccinated.

In an effort to bring things back under control, Israelis will now be required to wear masks in some public spaces — including airports, border crossings, and medical facilities.

In addition to re-imposing an indoor mask mandate, the Health Ministry also announced that both vaccinated or recovered individuals who come in contact with a COVID-carrier would be ordered to self-isolate.

Additionally, Israel has postponed reopening foreign tourism for vaccinated individuals until August.

Earlier this month, Israel’s active COVID cases dipped below 200 a day. However, that has now jumped to 554. During the height of the pandemic, Israel recorded more than 10,000 new daily cases.

Approximately 70% of the latest infections recorded are the Delta variant.

On Tuesday, Israel recorded a record 7,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine – in large part due to its decision to administer the shot to 12-15 year-olds. Currently, the next shipment of the Pfizer vaccine is not due until September. But Israel is working to speed up that delivery to meet demand.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Delta variant may account for 90% of new COVID cases in the EU in the coming months.

According to the CDC, the number of Delta variant cases in the US has doubled in the last two weeks – making up 20.6% of the latest COVID-19 cases in the US.

In an interview on the Today show, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Delta variant will become the dominant strain in the US within several weeks. However, he maintains that the current vaccines available are affective against the Delta variant.