Israel’s R Number Drops Below 1

YERUSHALAYIM -
Worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom testing center in Lod. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The infection rate of COVID-19 in Israel, the R number, dropped to below one for the first time in a month, Israeli media reported Sunday.

The R number, which represents the number of people each confirmed patient infects on average, dropped to .98. Any number below one signifies that the pandemic is shrinking.

The R number is based on statistics from 10 days prior and rose above one on Nov. 18 for the first time since September.

The Health Ministry reported 445 COVID cases on Sunday, while the number of serious cases remains 111. This is compared to roughly 700 in late September.

However, 16% of those who entered the country did not perform a second COVID test as required three days after their arrival, according to Channel 12.

If this continues, that means 18,000 of those who enter the country every week won’t perform the test, causing fear of another COVID wave.

This comes as a new Omicron variant was found in Israel. The Health Ministry has thus far confirmed seven cases of the variant.

Meanwhile, health authorities are still waiting for the genetic sequencing results of 27 suspected Omicron carriers; of those, eight recently returned from abroad and 19 others didn’t travel overseas since the pandemic began.