Latest Data Show Coronavirus on the Way Out

YERUSHALAYIM -

The data on coronavirus cases continue to be encouraging as the pandemic seems to be on the wane in Israel.

The Health Ministry reported 654 new coronavirus cases since midnight, amid a steady decline in morbidity.

There are 17,975 active COVID-19 cases in the country, including 380 people hospitalized in serious condition, down slightly from this morning. Over 1.3 million infections have been confirmed in Israel since the pandemic began.

The death toll stands at 7,999.

According to the Health Ministry, over 6.2 million Israelis have received at least one vaccine dose and close to 5.7 million have gotten two shots. Additionally, more than 3.8 million have been administered a booster shot.

A senior official of the World Health Organization senior official on Sunday hailed Israel’s decision to be in the forefront of offering a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to its citizens.

“Israel was right when it started giving [the booster] before the FDA’s approval,” said Dr. Dorit Nitzan, the WHO’s Regional Emergency Director for the European Region. “Israel was among the first to give the booster, and it is among the first to continue making progress. Israel is a pioneer, and that’s important.”

Israel made the Pfizer/BioNTech supplementary shot available to its entire population aged 12 and over back in August and has seen record numbers of daily coronavirus infections and severely ill patients taper down nationwide significantly.

Coronavirus commissioner Professor Salman Zarka said earlier on Sunday that he doesn’t plan to recommend easing any significant remaining restrictions yet, fearing a potential fifth virus wave.

“We are optimistic and we see the downward trend [of new cases] is continuing, but the fourth wave is still here,” Zarka told Kan public radio.

“We also have a lesson to learn, to remind everyone: We exited too quickly from the third wave. We thought we beat the coronavirus, and then the Delta variant came in the fourth wave,” he said. “We need to do it slowly, carefully, keeping in mind a fifth wave, chalilah.”

But the Coronavirus Cabinet is expected to approve easing a number of remaining restrictions in the coming days, according to media reports.

Among the recommendations, officials are reportedly considering abolishing the restrictions on large outdoor gatherings that set limits of between 1,000 and 5,000 participants, and limits on event halls of 400 people in closed spaces and 500 in open spaces, once the average daily new case rate drops to below 1,000.