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News & Commentary
Omicron surge threatens to overwhelm Gaza’s health services
MAP - Medial Aid for Palestinians • 27 January 2022
One month after the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was discovered, Gaza is now in the midst of a fourth wave of the pandemic.
On 26 January, 1,250 new cases of the virus were confirmed – a sharp increase compared to the 177 cases just seven days ago. The World Health Organization is warning that the peak of this fast-spreading Omicron surge is still to come.
“This is a very worrying development and healthcare workers are fearful that this new wave could overwhelm Gaza’s health services,” said Mahmoud Shalabi, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s Senior Programme Manager in Gaza. “Low vaccination rates, and shortages of staff and equipment is likely to cause the virus to spread even more rapidly throughout one of the most densely-populated areas in the world.”
A More Infectious and Puzzling Omicron Subvariant Surges in Israel
Haaretz • 2 February 2022
The number of infections caused by the BA.2 subvariant of the BA.1 omicron coronavirus has surged in the past two weeks, and now accounts for 11 percent of cases among travelers entering Israel. The figure jumped from 7 percent following the entry of a group of Nepalese workers infected with the new subvariant into the country.
According to the Health Ministry, 350 infections with the BA.2 subvariant have been verified. “At present we know that the subvariant is more infectious, but does not cause more severe illness than the BA.1 variant,” a ministry spokesman said.
COVID-19 chief Prof. Salman Zarka said Monday that the Health Ministry is keeping a close eye on the new BA.2 subvariant, “which according to data from Europe has the potential to be more infectious than omicron, and in some European countries has slowed down the decline in the omicron wave, while in others, such as Denmark, it has sparked a new wave.
Why Gaza must be vaccinated
Electronic Intifada • 17 February 2022
Israel has depicted itself as one of the world’s most successful countries in organizing a
rapid vaccination campaign against COVID. The media in Europe and North America have promoted Israel as a success story, usually omitting the fact that its vaccination campaign did not extend to millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Such discrimination has meant that Palestinians have been forced to rely on donations of vaccines from various governments.
Israel's expert COVID team to meet as infection rate surges
Haaretz • 22 March 2022
COVID-19 infection rates continued accelerating Monday as 14,460 people were diagnosed with the virus amid the spread of the highly contagious new variant, BA.2.
The Health Ministry's COVID team is expected to convene Tuesday to discuss the rising numbers. Although no firm decisions are anticipated today, it is expected to determine over the next few days whether to launch another major campaign to promote vaccination in an effort to slow the spread.
TIMELINE FOR COVID-19 IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
from Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: https://www.jvphealth.org/covid-19