Israel’s reproduction number (the number of people each carrier infects) has risen in recent days after weeks of declining, standing at 0.86 on Tuesday, the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center reported. The reproduction number on Friday was 0.79, the lowest in months.
“In the coming weeks an increase in the infection rate may be noted, due to the lifting of restrictions and the widespread British variant,” the report stated, adding that the British variant is “30-70% deadlier than the original virus.”
Health officials are concerned, especially due to the fear of mass gatherings over Purim. The coronavirus cabinet is scheduled to convene on Tuesday to make a decision on implementing health restrictions on Purim, with media reports saying that ministers are likely to agree to impose a nighttime curfew and reduce public transportation over Purim.
“If there’s an increase in infections on Purim, we’ll have to reclose the doors,” coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash said on Tuesday.
Israel’s Health Ministry reported 4,677 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with tests showing a 7% positivity rate, a slight rise from the 6.5% weekly average. There are currently 41,487 active virus cases, with 797 seriously ill patients, of whom 248 are ventilated. The death toll has risen to 5,604.
A full 77% of new coronavirus patients are under the age of 39 and only 6.2% of patients are over the age of 60.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Tuesday morning that over 70% of Israelis over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)