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Harsh restrictions on unvaccinated will not work - Ash

Health Ministry D-G Nachman Ash said that he was opposed to a Macron-style policy of harsh restrictions against people who chose not to receive the COVID vaccine.

Health Ministry D-G Nachman Ash receiving a flu vaccine on October 17, 2021 (photo credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)
Health Ministry D-G Nachman Ash receiving a flu vaccine on October 17, 2021
(photo credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)

Health Minister D-G Nachman Ash was asked on Sunday morning about his opinion regarding restrictions on nonvaccinated people, similar to the policies adopted by French President Emmanuel Macron, which a poll found that most Israelis supported.

Ash said that he opposed the policy since it raised antagonism and he was not sure if it actually will cause more people to vaccinate and that it would be better to develop better incentives for vaccinations. 

"As time goes on and there is no alternative option, we will have to take steps that will lead to more people getting vaccinated. The level of antibodies in the fourth level returns to the level that was immediately after the third booster dose." 

Ash said that his ministry was acting in order to lower the price of the antigen tests, saying that there is no reason for the at-home test to cost more than ten shekels. Anyone who is vaccinated is required to take a home antigen test; currently, that's over 4 million Israelis. 

Regarding the education system, Ash said that he supported the decision to cancel the "traffic light" system and have schools operate with the same rules as other branches. There is o reason to lock down schools that may not even have a COVID positive student, he said.

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2. (credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2. (credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Ash said that 17,500 people had tested positive on Saturday, an all-time high on the day that is traditionally far lower than weekdays due to fewer tests. 179 people are in serious condition.