Israel has announced it will offer a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to health workers and people older than 60.

A Health Ministry expert panel recommended the fourth shot late on Tuesday, a decision that 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”.

“The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and we are continuing to pioneer with the fourth dose as well,” he said in remarks relayed by his office, calling on those who meet the criteria to “Go and get vaccinated”.

The Israeli Health Ministry said in a statement that immunodeficient people will also be eligible for the fourth shot, which it said can be administered to them, the elderly and the medical teams at least four months after the third shot.

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

Israel has already this week expanded a travel ban to countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Canada to try to curb the spread of the virus.

It has also issued limitations on eating in shopping malls and instructed that children in communities with high morbidity and low vaccination rates should learn from home. It has also reduced office attendance by 50 percent for public sector employees to encourage more remote work.

And Defense Minister Benny Gantz