Serious COVID Cases in Israel at Two-month Low; Further Drop in Key Metrics

Israel's COVID cabinet decided against relaxing restrictions as new Green Pass regulations come into effect, requiring a booster jab

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Haaretz
A patient in Beilinson Hospital's COVID ward in Petah Tikva, last month.
A patient in Beilinson Hospital's COVID ward in Petah Tikva, last month.Credit: Moti Milrod
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Haaretz

Israel's coronavirus cases continued to wane Monday, with the Health Ministry logging the smallest increase in new severe coronavirus cases in nine weeks.

On Monday, Israel hit its lowest number of active serious cases since August 16, with 564 patients in serious condition. Out of these cases, 247 patients are in critical condition and 204 are on ventilators.

Though Israel's unvaccinated constitute 15 percent of the population, they make up around 75 percent of current serious cases Monday. Over the past month, though, over 160,000 people got their first doses.

In addition, almost 70,000 people received their third vaccine shot on Sunday alone, the same day Israel's new Green Pass restrictions came into effect. However, technical glitches on the Health Ministry's website overnight into Sunday, apparently due to heavy traffic to it, meant many people couldn't register for new passes. The ministry said the old passes will remain in effect "for the next few days."

In general, the new eligibility rules stipulate that those reissuing their Green Pass must have received their third jab of the coronavirus vaccine, or their second dose in the past 6 months.

A man receives a coronavirus vaccine in Jerusalem, this week.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

On Sunday, 2,653 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Thirteen people died of COVID-19; of those, nine were unvaccinated.

The country's R number, or the number of people each coronavirus carrier infects, remains low. It currently stands at 0.75, and has remained below 1 since September, a sign that the pandemic is contracting.

Israel's coronavirus cabinet also met Sunday, choosing not to relax Green Pass restrictions, despite recommendations that the country curb limits on outdoor venues amid waning COVID-19 infections.

The cabinet postponed their decision on the Health Ministry's proposal to exclude open venues – including restaurants and gyms not located in enclosed spaces – from the Green Pass program. They will confirm whether they intend to relax restrictions soon via phone call, in accordance with new morbidity data.

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