On Monday morning, data from the Health Ministry showed that there were 12,869 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed on Sunday out of 62,852 antigen and PCR tests taken, bringing the positive return rate to about 20.48%. This number is a major increase as opposed to the number of new cases recorded on the previous day, which was around 7,783. However, testing rates were quite low, as is the trend over the weekend and also because of the Purim holiday. This meant that only half of the usual number of people took the coronavirus test, which is around 36,760. Therefore, the number of cases reported were probably lower than what would have been seen otherwise.
But, there is no doubt that there is once more an increase in infection rates because the ‘R’ number, which is the transmission number, has risen to 1.23, when it had been 0.86 in the previous week. When this number is higher than 1, it means that the virus is spreading and cases would increase because one infected coronavirus carrier would infect more people. Last month saw the R number decline steadily, but it has seen a significant increase in the previous week. The last time the daily number of cases had gone past the 12,000 mark had on February 2022, exactly a month ago.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that there hasn’t been an increase in the number of patients in serious condition, as this stood at about 328. There are around 160 patients who are considered critical, with 20 of them connected to ECMO machines and 143 intubated. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the last week have been 25, which has brought the total death toll in Israel since the beginning of the pandemic to 10,431. It remains unclear if it was the BA.2 variant of the virus, or renewed tourism, or both that resulted in the rise in cases.
Regardless, it is apparent that cases will continue to increase, especially after the Purim holiday festivities that took place last week. The coming days will show the impact of the holiday on the number of cases. On Sunday, there had been 623 positive cases diagnosed in people who had come to Israel from abroad within the last five days. People coming from France who tested positive was 74, as there has been a 36% increase in coronavirus cases in the country in a week’s time.
There were 70 people who tested positive for the coronavirus when coming from Italy, 37 people from the United Kingdom and 55 people from Austria. Global COVID-19 cases are on the rise, even though they had declined steadily in the last few weeks. On March 15th, the World Health Organization released a report where it showed that there had been an 8% increase in the number of coronavirus cases globally from March 7th to March 13th. The report said that there had been about 11 million new cases reported across six WHO regions and there were 43,000 deaths recorded.