On Wednesday morning, the Health Ministry released figures showing that the highest number of coronavirus cases were recorded in Israel on Tuesday, with more than half of the cases being found in children. There were a total of 786 new cases diagnosed on Tuesday and this is the third consecutive day that this number has increased in the country. The last time the number of cases had been this high was back on October 25th, when a total of 929 patients tested positive for COVID-19. On Tuesday, the positive test rate for the disease reached 0.75%, which is its highest figure in more than two weeks.
Furthermore, the virus reproduction number, which is known as the R number, had also been steadily climbing for the last four days and stood at 1.07 on Tuesday. The R number above the value of 1 indicates that the pandemic is spreading because it shows the number of people an infected person can spread the disease to. These numbers came with thousands of children returning to school after the end of the Hanukkah vacation. Preschoolers as well as children in grades 1 to 6 had been required to provide a negative rapid antigen test for the coronavirus upon returning to the classroom.
There are a total of 5,981 active cases of the coronavirus in Israel and of these, around 3,764 are students. According to the statistics provided by the Health Ministry, the total cases diagnosed on Tuesday included 56% children who were under the age of 11 and 12% belonged to the 12 to 15 age group. The 1.1% positive test rate for children going to school was higher as opposed to the national average. The number of patients in serious condition stood at 102, even though this number has been declining steadily in the past month. On November 9th, the number of patients in serious condition had stood at 157.
The ministry said that the death toll in the country was 8,210 with no one dying from the disease in the last 24 hours. In the last week, around eight people have succumbed to the virus. The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Israel as well as the rest of the world has been because of the new variant identified known as Omicron. Israel has reported about 21 new cases of the new variant, which is reportedly highly contagious.
The Omicron variant had first been identified in South Africa and has led to global travel bans and Israel has also closed its borders to foreign tourists. Likewise, the government had also tightened restrictions, along with the quarantine rules applicable to Israelis returning to the country, even if they are fully vaccinated. Vaccination has been Israel’s central tactic in combating the virus, as it had launched the campaign of vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 in the previous month. There are about 9.5 million people in Israel and of them, the first dose has been administered to 6,384,685, two doses to 5,785,098 and third dose to 4,108,460.