Months into its mass coronavirus vaccination campaign, Israel sees a drop in COVID infections and in the number of serious cases. Israel has reopened commerce and culture for vaccinated people, but some restrictions remain on inbound and outbound flights. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 6,185 Israelis have died of the virus.
Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have received 30,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by Israel, as well as a shipment of over 160,000 vaccines via the COVAX scheme. A total of 2,236 people have died of COVID in the West Bank, while 598 have died in Gaza.
6:07 P.M. West Bank and Gaza receive 100,000 vaccine doses
About 100,000 doses of Sinopharm, a vaccine against Covid-19 manufactured in China, arrived in the West Bank capital of Ramallah on Monday, the local Health Ministry reported.
The Chinese-donated shipment comes on top of more than 62,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine distributed through the international COVAX initiative. Additionally, about 25,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected.
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New vaccine doses also arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Russia-produced Sputnik V vaccine, a gift from the United Arab Emirates. (DPA)
2:15 P.M. Knesset panel blocks additional Shin Bet tracking of COVID patients
The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset on Monday decided against authorizing the government's request to continue deploying the Shin Bet in coronavirus tracking.
The government decision, taken on March 25, would allow Israel's internal security service to use additional means to halt the spread of coronavirus.
MK Zvi Hauser, the chairman of the committee, and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon were among those who voted against the government's request. (Jonathan Lis)
12:40 P.M. COVID cases remain high Palestinian territories
The last month has been characterised by spiralling rates of infection and hospital overcrowdings, but the number of recoveries per day is now outstripping the daily infections in the West Bank, according to Palestinian Health Ministry statistics.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported 971 new cases on Sunday, while 1,025 people recovered, but there were still 24,547 active coronavirus patients in the West Bank, one of the highest figures since the pandemic began.
At the start of February, there were under 8,000 active cases in the West Bank, but this almost doubled by the end of the month, prompting the Palestinian Authority to institute partial and localized lockdowns.
However, in the Gaza Strip, just 156 people recovered on Sunday, while 815 new cases were registrated on the same day. There is a total of 5,965 active cases in the coastal enclave.
The Palestinian Authority has inoculated 48,963 people in the West Bank while Hamas has vaccinated 20,362 people in the Gaza Strip. As of mid-March, Israel had inoculated 105,000 Palestinians with work permits with one dose of the vaccination.
There were 13 deaths in the West Bank and 5 deaths in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, taking the total deaths in the West Bank to 2,236 and 598 in Gaza. (Jack Khoury)
9:48 A.M. Daily COVID cases hit nine-month low
The number of daily coronavirus cases in Israel hit a nine-month low, with just 128 confirmed infections on Sunday.
The spread of the virus has been drastically curbed on the heels of Israel's successful vaccination drive. Israel has fully vaccinated 50.7 percent of the country, with 56.1 percent of the population receiving one jab.
The number of seriously ill patients from coronavirus has declined steadily in the last month, from 747 a month ago to 459 on Sunday. The daily increase of seriously ill patients and deaths has also nosedived, with 26 patients in a critical condition and 4 deaths on Sunday. (Haaretz)
9:24 P.M. Gantz cancels Monday's government meeting
Defense Minister and Kahol Lavan party leader Benny Gantz canceled the government meeting set to take place on Monday, claiming that it was because of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to appoint a permanent justice minister during the meeting. Gantz is currently the acting justice minister.
Therefore, the government won’t be discussing the acquisition of 30 million more vaccine doses on Monday.
Netanyahu's Likud party slammed Gantz's refusal to hold the meeting as "irresponsible," and accused him of endangering the safety and health of Israelis. It did not however deny that Netanyahu was blocking the appointment of a permanent justice minister. (Haaretz)
7:50 P.M. Israel to discuss acquisition of 30 million vaccine doses, Health Ministry says
The Israeli government will discuss on Monday the acquisition of more than 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
The total cost is expected to reach 3.5 billion shekels ($1 billion) and the doses will bring the total number of doses bought for 2021 and 2022 to over 60 million.
Up until now, Israel has used 10 million doses in its vaccination drive and requires only a little over 2 million doses to fully vaccinate its eligible population. (Ronny Linder)
11:11 A.M. Israel sees a slight rise in COVID Infection rate
The COVID-19 infection rate known as the R number – the average number of people each coronavirus carrier infects – has risen slightly from 0.59 to 0.6, according to Health Ministry data released on Sunday.
In addition, Israel has recorded 229 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of active coronavirus cases to 9,996. The number of seriously ill patients keeps declining and currently stands at 458, compared to 632 two weeks ago. 1.9 percent of COVID tests came back positive today, up from 1.4 percent on Saturday.
More than 5 million Israelis have received their first dose of the vaccine, which accounts for 56 percent of the population. Over 4.7 million Israelis, just over 50 percent of the country's population, have received their second vaccine dose. (Haaretz)