How One Israeli Family Caused Mass Omicron Outbreak

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Ma (photo credit: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES – NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

A family of four may have caused the country’s largest Omicron outbreak to date because they chose not to quarantine after returning from a trip abroad.

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox) family from Jerusalem – parents and two young children, known as “Family P” – recently returned to Israel from South Africa.

When returning from a red country, travelers are required to take a PCR test at the airport and then check-in to a coronavirus hotel until a negative result is obtained. Then, they may sign a contract that allows them to complete their isolation at home.

This family followed the first part of the procedure, testing negative on return to Israel. However, a few days later, when they were supposed to be isolating at home, they were not. Instead, the parents went to work and the children to school and preschool.

A few days into their non-isolation, the family was retested. Although it is unclear why, this was likely because they started to experience symptoms. They all tested positive. Even so, they continued their normal activities in the community.

And it seems they infected more than a dozen people.

There is a major outbreak at at least one Jerusalem school, which sources say could be linked to Family P – though this is still unconfirmed.

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SOURCE: The Jerusalem Post, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman