The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant is “weaker” than health officials hoped, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Friday, as 855 people tested positive for coronavirus and more countries were listed as places of high infection.

“We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less,” Bennett said.

The prime minister held a meeting of top health officials and ministers to discuss the next steps for managing the virus in light of the numbers in Israel and what Bennett described as “the Delta mutation leaping forward around the world, including in vaccinated countries such as Britain, Israel and the US.”

He said that “Britain, in recent days, we have seen a jump in the number of children who are being hospitalized on a daily basis. This is a development that we are aware of; we are dealing with it rationally and responsibly.”

The highest number of coronavirus cases since March were diagnosed on Thursday, with 1.52% of tests returning positive, the Health Ministry said in a Friday announcement. 

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