• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Coronavirus Czar Calls for Public Masking as Infections Rise

Dec 12, 2022

On Thursday, Salman Zarka, the coronavirus czar warned that COVID-19 cases were once more on the rise in the country.

Therefore, he recommended that people begin masking indoors once more and start taking other precautions as well.

Speaking to outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Zarka said that COVID morbidity was climbing again, as the number of positive test results and infections was up in Israel.

Cases on the rise

Zarka said that with rising cases, it is essential that they improve their defenses, which means getting vaccinated and masking in closed spaces like the supermarket, flights, train and bus.

He said that the primary concern was the number of people suffering from the coronavirus who have to be hospitalized.

The BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 variants of the Omicron virus were spreading through the population and resulting in 15 to 20 patients being hospitalized every day.

Statistics from the Health Ministry show that the most recent vaccine had only been administered in 3% of the total 470 cases in the last month.

They also show that there are just 314,920 people in the country who have been vaccinated for the Omicron variant.

He urged the public, particularly the at-risk population, to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and not wait for another wave of infections to hit.


Zarka said that people need to be very careful during Hanukah when they gather with family and also urged youngsters to exercise caution by wearing masks and getting tested for the virus when visiting elderly relatives.

On April 24th this year, Israel had official lifted the masking requirement, which was one of the last few coronavirus restrictions that had been in place in over two years since the pandemic began.

Israelis had to wear masks indoors between April 2020 and April 2022 and the only exception was in June 2021 when the requirement had been lifted for 10 days before being implemented once more.

The numbers

According to the Health Ministry, latest statistics indicate that as of Thursday night, there were 54 people who were in critical condition and had to be hospitalized due to COVID-19.

The number of confirmed active cases in Israel stood at 13,662, while the last week saw 22 people lose their lives. A total of 11,905 people have died in the country due to the virus.

The last week saw about 63,000 people get infected and the R number had climbed to 1.1. This is the transmission number, which indicates how many people are infected on average by one COVID case.

If the number is above 1, it means that the infection is spreading. At the peak of the pandemic, the total number of active cases in Israel had stood at 88,000, while the number of serious cases was 1,228.

On Thursday, the Health Ministry also issued a warning about the dangers posed by the RSV and flu viruses.

There has been a 31% increase in the number of patients with RSV getting hospitalized in the past week alone.

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