Israel changed its COVID-19 quarantine and testing policy on Wednesday as part of efforts to husband resources and ensure continued protection for vulnerable people amid a surge in infections fueled by the Omicron variant, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.
PCR tests will be earmarked for people aged 60 and over or with weak immune systems, while those at lower risk will be checked with rapid antigen tests, the health ministry said.
People who are not in riskier groups and have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to use home-kits to initially determine whether they need to self-isolate after exposure to carriers of the virus.
"This is a significant change intended to identify risk populations sooner, intervene and prevent severe disease. We are now looking even less at infection (rates)," ministry director-general Nachman Ash said at a news conference.
Israel hopes its stocks of Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc's antiviral COVID-19 medications will help keep hospital admissions and severe cases down, even as daily cases are expected to rise to record highs in the coming weeks.
The new policy comes into effect on Friday, Jan. 7.