Over 2,000 New COVID Cases for Fourth Day in a Row; Booster Launch Begins

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hospital staff provide medical care for patients at a coronavirus ward at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), Tel Aviv. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo)

There were 2,140 new coronavirus cases in Israel over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry announced on Friday morning.

The ministry announced that 91,202 tests were conducted and that 2.34% of cases returned a positive result.

As of Friday morning, 167 patients are listed in serious condition with 26 of them ventilated.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Thursday evening that the country would offer a coronavirus booster shot to vaccinated people aged 60 and over and urged Israeli seniors to get vaccinated in order to “beat the virus.”

“Our goal is to keep the State of Israel open,” Bennett said. “But we must understand that there is a race between the vaccine campaign and the pandemic. We must make sure the vaccinations rate beats the pandemic’s spread. We all have the shared obligation to protect one another. Go get vaccinated!”

According to Bennett, the booster shot will be given to Israelis over the age of 60, provided that at least five months have passed since they received the second dose.

“Within a few days of receiving the third dose, [the vaccine] comes into effect and provides protection. I urge seniors who have been vaccinated with the second dose — go get vaccinated with the third dose. It will protect you from serious illness and death.”

Israel becomes the first country in the world to offer its citizens a third dose of Pfizer/Biontech two-dose vaccine, although the move has yet to be cleared by any regulatory body in Israel or abroad, and in the absence of reliable and comprehensive data.

Bennett added that Israel will not go into another lockdown, fourth in number, as the policy had cost the country’s economy NIS 200 billion.

President Yitzchak Herzog, who turns 61 in September, will be the first Israeli to receive the booster shot as part of the campaign Friday morning.

With the emergence of the Delta variant in Israel, the country’s vaccine protection rampart seems to all but have broken as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soared among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

An unvaccinated 38-year-old man died due to complications of COVID-19 at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva on Thursday.

The hospital relayed that the patient, who did not suffer from any underlying health conditions, was hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms and his situation quickly deteriorated until he passed away shortly after.

Israel’s death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at 6,466.