For the first time in this month, the coronavirus cabinet in Israel will meet on Sunday, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett not ready to impose any new restrictions, even though hundreds of new deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded. The ministers have been summoned for the meeting that will take place at 6 p.m. The cabinet was convened in late August previously, before the beginning of the Jewish holidays and the new school year. Almost 600 new deaths have been recorded in Israel since the last time the forum met. The number of serious cases has declined since then, as it was 760 on August 30, but was 671 on Monday, but the number of patients on ventilators has reached the highest levels after March.
According to the figures provided by the government on Monday, the basic reproduction rate had reached 0.7, which means the virus is slowing down. There has been a record number of new cases every day during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Israel, but the number of patients to be hospitalized has declined, mostly because of the high vaccination rates in the country. On Monday, the death toll in the country rose to 7,684. The total number of deaths in August in Israel were 609 and this makes September the second consecutive month to have more than 500 deaths.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry disclosed that the total number of new cases was 3,208, but the number of tests had also fallen sharply over the weekend. On Sunday, the testing positivity rate had declined to 4.26 percent. Due to the mixed numbers, there has been an ongoing feud between health officials and the government about imposing additional COVID0-19 restrictions. Reportedly, the Prime Minister is not in favor of restricting gatherings anymore. He had a meeting with the coronavirus commissioner Salman Zarka, the Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Director General of the Health Ministry Nachman Ash and directors of health providers in Israel.
He said that restricting gatherings at this point would not affect morbidity and would only harm the economy. It was said that Bennett told the HMOs to stay focused on the vaccination campaign. At least one dose of the vaccine has been given to 6 million people in Israel and the third booster shot has been administered to more than 3 million people. In recent days, there has been an increase in tension between the health officials and members of the cabinet, as the former have warned about the need for additional restrictions, while the latter have resisted.
A government advisory panel in the previous week had encouraged the ministers to rethink their approach and had called for a policy that could limit the gatherings and reduce serious morbidity. The cabinet meeting on Sunday will occur days after anyone who hasn’t received a booster shot within six months of their second dose will see their Green Pass revoked. Teachers will also be required to have a Green Pass from October 3rd in order to enter schools.