COVID in Israel: Positive Test Rate Highest Since March, New Daily Cases Top 6,000

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A medical worker inspects a rapid COVID antigen test at a testing facility in Jerusalem, on Thursday.
A medical worker inspects a rapid COVID antigen test at a testing facility in Jerusalem, on Thursday.Credit: Emil Salman

Israel reported 6,083 new COVID cases on Thursday while the number of serious cases rose to 462, according to data from the Health Ministry released on Friday.

The rate of positive coronavirus tests also rose from Wednesday's figure of 4.62 percent to 5.02 percent on Thursday, making it the highest number since early March.

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There are currently 44,188 active coronavirus cases in Israel. 5,834,795 Israelis have received their first vaccine, 5,409,455 received their second dose and 775,703 got the third dose.

The continued rise in numbers comes as the country is expanding its COVID vaccine booster campaign to people aged 50 and up. Israel is the first country to provide boosters for parts of its population.

The Health Ministry accepted its advisory panel's recommendation, made on Thursday, to authorize a third vaccine dose for younger age groups, as well as health workers, people with weak immune systems and prisoners and prison staff, the ministry's director-general, Prof. Nachman Ash, said.

This week, it was reported that fewer than 50 of them have reported side effects. The reported symptoms (pain at the injection site, fever, and nausea) were mild and passed quickly.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed health maintenance organizations on Thursday to prepare to roll out third vaccines for different age groups starting next week.

Because Israel is at an advanced stage in the standard vaccination campaign, any expansion is a pioneering step. Receiving the third dose, although a calculated and reasonable risk according to many experts, is not yet based on an orderly trial protocol and is somewhat of a gamble, though more in terms of how effective it is, rather than if it is safe. 

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