For the third day running, Israel on Thursday saw nearly 6,000 new coronavirus cases.
The Health Ministry reported that out of 131,456 tests conducted on Wednesday, 5,946 returned positive, putting the infection rate at 4.62%.
Out of 42,203 active patients, 421 are listed in serious condition, with 65 connected to ventilators.
Israel’s death toll since the start of the pandemic rose to 6,593.
According to the ministry’s data, 41 serious patients are under the age of 50, with 35 of them unvaccinated. Among the critically ill is a boy aged 12-15. The data also showed that over 96% of all coronavirus-related fatalities over the past 30 days were over the age of 60 – 35 aged 90 and over, 55 aged 80 to 89, 46 aged 70 to 79 and 15 aged 60 to 69.
The past month also saw five Israelis aged 50 to 59 and one man in his 30s succumb to the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic, Israelis aged over 60 accounted for over 91% of all deaths.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday met Israel’s health fund directors to discuss the booster shot campaign, telling them to prepare to expand it to those under the age of 60 next week.
“I believe that today we will make a decision to give the jab to younger age groups,” he told them.
Earlier on Thursday, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Nachman Ash said that he supports expanding eligibility to the over-40s.
“We know that the vaccine’s decreased effectiveness affects all age groups,” he told Yediot. “We know that infections among people over the age of 40 could lead to serious illness and even death, which is why we are considering this measure very seriously and will bring it up for discussion today.”
Following the approval of new restrictions by the Coronavirus Cabinet, Ash said that the next two weeks are critical for officials to see whether the measures will manage to slow or bring down serious cases.