COVID in Israel: Delta Variant Leads to 4-month High in Cases

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Haaretz
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People eating at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv this past week.
People eating at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv this past week.Credit: Hadas Parush
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Haaretz

Israel recorded yet another four-month high in daily coronavirus infections, with 765 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, Health Ministry data shows, as the delta variant continues to spread across the country.   

The number of serious cases slightly increased in Israel, but still remained low and currently stands at 54, of whom 17 are in critical condition and 16 on ventilators. Israel has 5,372 active cases and 6,443 people have died from the virus so far.

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While over the past month new daily cases have spiked and serious cases have risen, the daily increase in infections is still lower than the Health Ministry's forecast from roughly two weeks ago, which anticipated that Israel would face 600 new coronavirus cases a day within a week, and 1,000 a day in 10 days.

The delta variant of the virus, which originated in India, is more than twice as contagious as the initial strain and has become the dominant strain of the virus in Israel.

Speaking in a press conference, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday that Israel can beat the delta variant within five weeks.

Bennett said that his government seeks to avoid the mass lockdowns that characterized the country's handling of the three previous coronavirus outbreaks under his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead, he said, Israel will opt for a policy revolving around promoting mask wearing, expanding vaccinations and encouraging social distancing.

"We have two options: the first option is to remain indifferent, say that it's the government's problem and then cases will spike, and we'll have to instate a lockdown; the other option is that each of us takes responsibility, and then we can end this whole business in five weeks," Bennett said.

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