Israel passes grim 4,000-death milestone in corona battle

The Ministry of Health said Monday morning that it documented 5,616 new COVID-19 cases over the past day.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel passed a grim milestone on Monday when it counted 4,005 deaths caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) since the outbreak in the country started in February 2020.

Israel is in the second week of a tight countrywide lockdown, after two weeks of a more loose closure, while the infection rate still remains high and there is no significant drop in the number of hospitalized patients.

The Ministry of Health updated Monday morning that it documented 5,616 new COVID-19 cases over the past day.

Of the 63,516 tests done on Sunday, 9.1% returned positive.

1,130 patients hospitalized with Corona are in serious condition, 273 of them are on life support.

Over 2, 116,257 Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some 23.8% of the population.

Some 152,000 people were vaccinated on Sunday, 72,000 received the first dose, and 80,000 the second dose.

Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an expert on COVID-19 in Israel, compared the second and third waves of infections and noted that until a few days ago the graph of the new daily patients was similar, but in the second wave, the breaking point and the decline in the number of new patients started on the 13th day of the closure. In the third wave, a full 20 days into the lockdown, Israel may finally be seeing the breaking point.

However, he noted that Israel may be seeing the effect of the vaccines. This week the number of serious patients aged 60 and over increased by 15%, compared with a 40% increase in people aged 40-55.

In comparison, in the previous two weeks, the increase in people aged 60 and above was about 30%.

In the meantime, the government is trying to stem the spread of the various COVID-19 variants after the UK mutation spread rapidly through the country.

The Cabinet decided Sunday evening that all persons who return from the United Arab Emirates and Brazil will be required to quarantine in state-run designated hotels, with the South African and Brazilian variants in mind.

A similar decision made regarding persons returning from South Africa and Zambia has been extended for an additional 10 days.

It was also decided to extend by two weeks the requirement to quarantine in designated hotels for all persons returning from any country in the world unless they agree to be tested upon entering Israel and commit to being tested again after nine days’ quarantine at home.