According to the figures disclosed by the Health Ministry on Sunday, the coronavirus transmission rate in Israel dipped below 1 for the first time in two weeks. This signals that the outbreak is once more retreating in the country. Currently, the ‘R’ number stands at 0.98 and it indicates how many people are infected on average by a coronavirus carrier. The number is used to measure the spread of the virus; if the number is below 1, it means the spread is slowing, while above 1 indicates it is on the rise. The number had stayed below 1 during late January and throughout February, but had begun to climb in early March.
It had reached a high of about 1.43 before it began to decline once more in recent days. Other statistics from the Health Ministry showed that a total of 32,209 tests had been conducted on Saturday for the virus and about 22.78% had gotten a positive results. This meant that the total number of positive cases for the day were about 7,338. The number of daily cases has also been declining in the last two weeks. The total number of active cases in the country stood at 58,749, which included 277 people who were hospitalized due to serious condition and there were about 102 patients who were on ventilators.
Even though there had been a recent increase in infections, the number of both serious and ventilated cases had been declining. The death toll in Israel had reached a total of 10,518. According to health officials, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the country is partly because of the BA.2 variant. This is a sub-variant of the Omicron, which is considered more infectious. The Director-General of the Health Ministry, Nachman Ash stated last week that they had no plans of implementing any new restrictions in Israel and they would soon scrap the COVID-19 restrictions that were still in place.
He was also questioned about when the face masks requirements, or that of quarantine would end. He had responded that they were moving in that direction, but hadn’t quite gotten there yet. But, he did add that they would not impose any additional ones for the Passover holiday this month, which would make it the first time in two years for the festivities to be done without any limitations. Meanwhile, Israel has once more ended up on the list of polio ‘outbreak countries’ of the World Health Organization (WHO) due to an outbreak in the Jerusalem area.
The country had been declared free of polio back in 1988, but has now ended up on the list once more with 28 countries. These include Ukraine, Ethiopia, Iran and Egypt, as these countries saw the virus removed and then resurface once more. Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are regarded as endemic countries. In March, the first polio case in 30 years was confirmed in Jerusalem, which spurred great worries and led to a renewed vaccination drive. Since then, six polio cases have been confirmed and all of them are unvaccinated.