COVID in Israel: Testing Sites to Shut Down for Yom Kippur as Infection Rate Rises

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Haaretz
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Rapid COVID testing site in Tel Aviv, last month.
Rapid COVID testing site in Tel Aviv, last month.Credit: Hadas Parush
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Haaretz

Israel's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that the R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will infect in turn, rose for a fifth straight day and now stands at 1.06, as the country sets to shut its testing centers throughout Yom Kippur.

When the R number is above 1, the pandemic is spreading, whereas under 1 signifies it is shrinking.

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In addition, the ministry reported that the number of serious cases in Israel currently stand at 650, a slight decline from the previous day which was 662. Unvaccinated Israelis – who account for 17 percent of the population eligible for a vaccine – make up two thirds of the total number of serious cases.

Israel also recorded 9,539 new cases which constitutes a minor drop from Tuesday's 10,779. Moreover, 17 COVID-related deaths – ten of which were of unvaccinated Israelis – were reported.

Today, on Yom Kippur eve, Israel will shut down COVID testing sites will close at 12 P.M, and will reopen on Friday. Israel's COVID czar Prof. Salman Zarka ensured on Wednesday that Israel's testing centers can withstand the expected post-Yom Kippur loads. 

"If on Friday we'll see that there are heavy loads we'll keep them open after 3 P.M. [the usual time testing centers shut in Israel on Fridays],"  Zarka said.

Israel extended the use of electronic monitoring of people in quarantine starting Wednesday. Moreover, entry to swimming pools will no longer require proof of immunity, according to new regulations approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the use of electronic monitoring by police of people in quarantine, beyond those who have returned from abroad.

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