Israel set to offer a fourth COVID vaccine dose

Israel is set to offer a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people older than 60.

A Health Ministry expert panel recommended the fourth shot on Tuesday, which was swiftly welcomed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as "great news that will help us overcome the Omicron wave that is spreading around the world."

Israel's announcement comes after the country confirmed its first known death from the Omicron variant.

A medical center in Beersheba said the man in his 60s died on Monday, two weeks after he was admitted to the COVID ward.

He also suffered from a number of pre-existing conditions.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry said there were at least 340 known cases of Omicron.

The government expanded travel bans this week to include the United States, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Canada to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Bennett's office said it had also encouraged remote work by reducing office attendance to 50 percent for public sector employees.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the military's Homefront Command to prepare for the eventuality of 5,000 new cases per day, according to his office.

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