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(LifeSiteNews) — Israel’s Health Ministry has ordered hospitals to conduct COVID tests on all new patients amid rumors of renewed lockdowns. 

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, the Health Ministry gave the order for mandatory PCR testing due to the rise in COVID-19 infection numbers and to “more effectively track the infection rates.” 

Health officials are reportedly concerned about the so-called BA.2.86 or “Pirola” variant potentially spreading more quickly than they expected. The variant is supposedly “able to evade much of the immunity provided by previous infections and vaccinations.” 

The Jerusalem Post cites Shay Fleishon, executive director of the government-affiliated organization BioJerusalm, who argued that the perception of the BA.2.86 variant spreading relatively slowly may be due to “low surveillance efforts worldwide and not of the variant’s lack of success.” 

 The author of the Jerusalem Post article, Tzvi Joffre, states that “[d]ecreased surveillance has also made it difficult to accurately judge how quickly BA.2.86 is spreading and is posing difficulties in catching future variants.” 

Researcher Ben Murrell of the Swedish Karolinska Institute echoed the sentiment, stating, “The fact, however, that another Omicron-like emergence event has occurred, with that long unobserved branch and subsequent spread, should warn us against giving up our genomic surveillance infrastructure.” 

READ: Jill Biden tests positive for COVID as speculation continues that lockdowns could return

During the beginning of the COVID crisis, Israel was one of the first countries to introduce restrictive measures, including large-scale lockdowns. The re-introduction of mandatory PCR tests, which have been shown to be flawed and produce inaccurate results, as well as the calls for “increased surveillance,” comes amid rumors of lockdowns and mask mandates returning this fall. 

Multiple reports have been written, and so-called COVID “experts,” like the infamous Dr. Anthony Fauci, have recently come out in defense of the draconian government policies during the COVID crisis, indicating a possible return of these restrictive measures. Indeed, school districts in Texas and Kentucky have already temporarily suspended in-person classes due to staff and students testing positive for the novel coronavirus.  

Many conservative commentators have urged citizens not to comply with potential new lockdowns or mask mandates.  

On Monday, the White House announced that First Lady of the U.S., Jill Biden, tested positive for COVID. 

 READ: ‘We will not comply’: Trump sounds alarm on COVID ‘tyrants’ ahead of 2024 election