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Health Ministry urges Israelis take COVID tests before Rosh Hashanah festivities

A health worker takes a swab sample from a man at a coronavirus testing site in the northern city of Safed, August 31, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)
A health worker takes a swab sample from a man at a coronavirus testing site in the northern city of Safed, August 31, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Health Ministry is urging Israelis to take a home coronavirus test before celebrating Rosh Hashanah with family members tomorrow evening.

It also calls for those marking the Jewish new year to hold meals and prayers outside if possible.

According to Channel 12 news, the number of tests performed today is expected to be the highest since the pandemic began.

Last year, Israelis celebrated Rosh Hashanah under lockdown, but the current government has resisted reimposing sweeping restrictions to contain a recent surge in morbidity, instead relying on vaccination and more limited curbs on gatherings and economic activity.

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash defends the decision not to impose a lockdown, saying that, while “there are concerns,” there are “clear” signs of declining morbidity, such as the drop in serious cases from a recent peak.

“I’m sure we’ll celebrate the holidays safely,” he tells Channel 12 news.

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