On Tuesday, new coronavirus cases in Israel reached a 3-month high, whereas serious cases steadied once more, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continued to spread rapidly throughout the region. 2,952 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Health Ministry a day earlier and this one-day figure is higher than any that had been seen since late in September when the Delta wave was nearing its end. Those who had been tested on Monday had a positivity rate of about 2.35%, which is the highest rate seen since October. As far as the ‘R’ number is concerned, which is called the reproduction number, it also reached a value of 1.47.
The last time the R number had reached such a level was back in June when the Delta wave had reached its peak. However, hospitalizations and serious cases in Israel remained steady, as 85 serious cases were reported as opposed to a week ago when they had been 80 and 96 serious cases on Sunday. The Health Ministry reported that as of Tuesday, the total number of active coronavirus cases in Israel stood at 15,487 and only 137 of these people were hospitalized. 85 of these patients were in serious condition and 38 of them were on ventilators.
Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of Israel, announced on Tuesday that they were making changes to the quarantine regulations for those who get exposed to someone with COVID-19. The premier came to this decision after a consultation with health officials, along with some other ministers. According to the new guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated will only be required to quarantine until they get a negative PCR test when they are exposed to a COVID-19 patient, regardless of the variant. Once these people are released, they will not be permitted to attend places that have high-risk populations such as nursing homes, or mass events, for the next 10 days.
Up till now, anyone who had been fully vaccinated hadn’t been required to quarantine at all after exposure to a COVID-19 patient, unless it was suspected to be Omicron. Meanwhile, those who are not fully inoculated will have to complete seven days of quarantine and provide two negative tests, if they have been exposed to anyone suffering from the coronavirus, regardless of the strain. The number of Israelis coming to get their first dose of the vaccine remained relatively high, as more than 10,000 got their first shot on Monday. A week ago, only 8,000 people had received their first dose.
In addition, more than 8,000 people turned up to get their third dose of the vaccine, as opposed to 5,000 people who had gotten their booster shot the last week. There is also an increase in vaccination rates of children belonging to the 5-11 age group. The numbers on Tuesday indicate that at least 15% of children belonging to this age group have already gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 62% of the children belonging to the 12-15 age group have gotten vaccinated.