Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apparently kept and mounted the syringe used to inject him with the COVID-19 vaccine. The premier showed off the artifact in a video on his official Facebook page on Monday.
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"Every time someone visits from abroad, I show them this arrowhead," Netanyahu says in the video, gesturing to a display case in his office featuring a replica of a Roman arrowhead from Yodfat, which he explains is the first Galilee fortress to fall to the Romans. "I tell them, that's the Romans, they're not here anymore." He presents, in the same display, a model of the Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile.
"And now I show them something else, another arrow," he continues, moving onto a second display case bearing the single syringe. "This is the syringe that gave me the first vaccine out of the millions of vaccines that we brought to Israel. We'll be the first country in the world to exit the coronavirus [crisis]. With faith, anything is possible."
On the wood base of the syringe's display, there is a plaque bearing one of Netanyahu's own quotes from that day: "One small shot for man, one giant step for the health of us all."
Netanyahu received Israel's first coronavirus inoculation, a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, on live television last month. Since then, Israel's vaccination program has proceeded quickly, and Netanyahu said in a cabinet meeting Sunday that he hopes the number of Israelis receiving vaccinations each day will reach 200,000.
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Even so, infection rates remain high. Israel decided to impose harsh restrictions on travel in and out of the country in light of the spread of COVID, and particularly the new, more infectious mutations that have come out of the United Kingdom and South Africa. The country surpassed 4,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as of Monday; about 1,000 of those patients died in the past month alone.
Israel is currently in its third nationwide lockdown, which was tightened last week. In light of the rising infection rates, the government will decide whether to extend the lockdown on Tuesday.