Health Ministry Ups Restrictions as New COVID Cases Spike to Nearly 11,000

(Israel Hayom) -
View of a classroom in a girl’s school in Tzfas, Monday, ahead of the new school year. (David Cohen/Flash90)

After showing signs of abating, the Delta variant wave seems to be on the rise in Israel again. The Health Ministry reported Tuesday that of the 145,868 Israelis it screened for the virus the day before, 10,947 (7.65%) tested positive, compared to the weekend, when an average of 8,000 Israelis were found to carry the virus.

There are 83,542 active cases in the country, with 1,122 Israelis hospitalized. Of those, 217 are in critical condition and 172 are on ventilators. according to the Health Ministry.

Israel has reported 1,066,352 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. Thus far, 7,043 Israelis have lost their lives to the virus, 526 of them in August alone.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Cabinet approved new restrictions on Monday, including limiting the number of mispallelim for Selichos at the Kosel to 8,000 participants. The Cabinet also decided to divide mispallelim into 18 sections with the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.

The “green pass” vaccination certificate was expanded to include health, education and welfare employees with possible expansion to other areas of the workforce to be considered at a later date.

Meanwhile, with the new school year set to begin on September 1, classes with less than 70% of partially vaccinated students will be required to study online. By Sept. 30, at least 70% or more of students must be fully inoculated to attend school physically. The vaccine decision applies to eighth to twelfth graders in “red cities” with high infection rates.

In further attempts to quell the Delta wave, the government was also considering offering financial incentives to national health funds for encouraging vaccinations.

Within the framework of the plan, the Health Ministry intends to transfer as much as NIS 24 million ׂ($7.5 million) to health funds based on the number of Israelis they inoculate, the number of their vaccination centers, and efforts dedicated to bringing more people to get vaccinated.

Efforts are currently being aimed at Israelis over the age of 60. Since Israel launched its booster shot campaign, 2,157,299 have already received their third jab.