New restrictions after Israel sees 85% rise in COVID-19 infections in one week

Projections indicate Israel will be contending with over 10,000 cases a day within two weeks.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

The members of Israel’s ministerial committee on fighting the coronavirus approved a new series of COVID-19 related restrictions, as the infections numbers in the country skyrocketed in the past week.

Members of the Corona Cabinet approved on Friday further limitations in malls and commercial facilities, including a guideline that stipulates that entry to malls that are bigger than 100 square meters will be subject to the Green Pass, in both open facilities and in malls and enclosed facilities. Employees of such stores will also be subject to the Green Pass.

Food stalls in malls will provide takeaway service only to customers upon presentation of a Green Pass. There will be no seating. Entry to restaurants inside malls will be subject to the presentation of a Green Pass as is currently required in restaurants.

Further guidelines and limitations were also introduced for the school system.

In the past week, a total of 9,020 Israelis tested positive for Corona, meaning an average of about 1,300 a day, and an 85 percent increase over the daily average of about 700 cases a day in the week before that.

The rate of Corona tests that returned positive over the weekend was 2.07%, the first time since the beginning of October that the positive rate was over 2%. At the same time, the infection coefficient (R) increased to 1.41, indicating the broad spread of the virus.

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The Health Ministry updated over the weekend that it identified 591 new Omicron cases, out of a total of 1,118 verified cases in Israel so far, of which 723 were probably infected abroad. There is a “high suspicion” of another 861 Omicron cases.

Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an expert on COVID-19 in Israel, estimated that with about 440 Omicron cases a day and a documented R of 3.35, Israel will be contending with over 10,000 a day within two weeks.

8,242 Corona patients have died in Israel since the outbreak of the virus about two years, the last on Friday. Since the beginning of the month, 40 Israelis have died of Corona. All the dead under the age of 60 were not vaccinated at all.