Figures released by the Health Ministry on Thursday indicated that the spread of the coronavirus is increasing in Israel once more. The transmission rate, or the ‘R’ number of virus was once more approaching 1, after which the rate usually accelerates. This is the reproduction rate of the virus had reached 0.92, which is calculated after taking into account the data from 10 days before. Figures on Wednesday showed that the R number had climbed to 0.9 and it has been inching upwards slowly from earlier this month when it was at 0.6. The R number indicates the number of people a single patient of COVID-19 can infect on average.
If the number reaches 1 and goes higher, it means the virus is spreading and will continue climbing, unless it is curbed. On Wednesday, the data from the Health Ministry showed that the number of new cases diagnosed in Israel stood at 6,738. This made it the third consecutive day for the number of cases to exceed the 6,300 mark. This highlighted a reversal in the downward trend that had been seen in the last couple of weeks. As of Thursday morning, the total number of active cases in Israel were about 40,096. The total number of patients in serious condition stood at 332.
Another patient lost their life to the coronavirus on Wednesday and this resulted in the death toll increasing to 10,405. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also announced on Wednesday that they were not removing the indoor mask mandate for another month because there are concerns about the virus cases rising once more. However, most of the other curbs that were implemented have already been rolled back. In a meeting, the premier and the Health Minister had viewed the latest figures of COVID-19 not just in Israel, but in countries all over the globe.
It appears that there has been a rise in cases in China in recent weeks. The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement about preparing for a new coronavirus strain by doing inventory checks of the vaccine and other drugs. They will also continue with the implementation of the ‘Magen Avot’ program, which was developed for the protection of nursing homes and other at-risk individuals. They will also ensure that all classrooms have air filters installed. Bennett seems to be taking a cautious approach, especially considering that there are Jewish holidays approaching, which are known to feature large gatherings.
These holidays have previously resulted in mass infections. The Purim holiday began on Wednesday night and it involves large gatherings and parties. Passover is another holiday approaching in a month, which also involves family gatherings. It was further announced that two cases of a new and previously undiscovered variant of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in Israel. The cases were of people who had traveled internationally and were tested at the Ben Gurion Airport upon their arrival in Israel. There is not much known about the new strain, but it does not seem to have severe symptoms for now.