Israel to downgrade coronavirus to flu status

Israel will officially declare the coronavirus pandemic within the next month, with the viral disease being downgraded to flu status.

From January 18, the country’s civilian health system will be given responsibility for all Covid-related treatment and testing, replacing Home Front Command.

On the last day of January, the coronavirus will be classified alongside the flu. The pandemic control center will be closed and Covid patients will no longer need to be isolated.

According to Professor Cyrille Cohen, a member of the Health Ministry’s advisory board for clinical trials of the Covid vaccine, the aim was to bring the virus to an “endemic” stage, with the disease spreading at an expected rate.

“We hope our healthcare system can cope with these winter infections, including Covid,” Cohen told i24NEWS.

“We are more in a scenario where we behave like any other viral disease in winter,” he added, noting that most of the public had moved on from the pandemic with less mask-wearing and than many people did not get tested.

Meanwhile, the former head of the Israel Institute for Biological Research, the government institution behind Israel’s failed coronavirus vaccine attempt, sparked outrage this week after he tweeted that he had made a mistake by allowing himself to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

“I made three mistakes: when I got the first dose, the second dose and the third dose,” Professor Shmuel Shapira said this week.

In an interview with Channel 12 News last week, Shapira said he was seeking to “warn those who say it has saved many lives in Israel. It has many serious side effects, and apparently people have lost their lives because of it. They try to document all this a bit.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz called Shapira’s remarks “ridiculous and damaging,” adding that he “joins the conspiratorial wave of COVID deniers that is undermining public confidence in the health care system.” His behavior is shameful.

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