COVID in Israel: New Serious Cases Drop 60% in Three Weeks

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Haaretz
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Medical professionals in protective equipment work in the coronavirus ward at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, August.
Medical professionals in protective equipment work in the coronavirus ward at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, August.Credit: AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo
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Haaretz

The number of new daily serious cases of the coronavirus in Israel has dropped by about 60 percent over the past three weeks, data  released on Tuesday shows.

Three weeks ago, there were on average 100 new patients daily suffering from serious coronavirus symptoms, by Tuesday the figure has plunged to 32 a day.

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The total number of serious cases in Israel has hit a two-month low and now stands at 440. In addition, over the past week, Israel recorded 92 deaths from COVID.

Roughly 15 percent of Israelis 12 and over who are eligible for the vaccine have never been vaccinated. But they accounted for 70 percent of deaths over the past week.

The R number – the average number of people each confirmed carrier infects – has remained below 1 for over a month. The figure reported on Tuesday, 0.72, is slightly up from Monday's figure of 0.7. When the R number, or infection coefficient, is lower than 1, it means the pandemic is shrinking.

On Monday, COVID czar, Prof. Salman Zarka said health experts are "very optimistic" that Israel's latest coronavirus wave is waning, and expect the number of patients hospitalized in serious cases to drop within the next two weeks.

The current outbreak – Israel's fourth wave of infection – is still not over, however, and the public must continue to abide by restrictions and get vaccinated, he warned in a media briefing. "We have already proven that without a third [vaccine] dose, people aren't protected if half a year after getting the second vaccine," he said. "We must be careful in order to prevent a fifth wave, or to delay it."

Fully lifting Green Pass restrictions, which require Israelis to present proof of vaccination in various situations, is off the table and they "will be part of our routine in the coming weeks or coming months, Zarka said."

However, a series of new measures relaxing COVID restrictions on outdoor activities went into effect Monday.

According to a decision last week by the ministerial committee coordinating Israel's coronavirus response, outdoor seating areas in restaurants and enclosed swimming pools are open to all, regardless of vaccination status.

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