On Sunday, more than 6,500 new cases of COVID-19 came back positive, as the surge of infections in Israel continued to accelerate, driven by the Omicron variant. On Monday, the Health Ministry statistics disclosed that about 6,562 cases had been diagnosed on Sunday, which is triple of the number that had been recorded a week earlier. Along with the cases on Sunday, there were 2,305 more cases that had been confirmed past midnight and this took the total active cases in Israel to 37,000. Fortunately, the number of serious patients has not accelerated at the same pace, with the number remaining at 110 on Monday morning and those in critical condition at 45, most of whom are unvaccinated.
The ‘R’ number, which means the number of people on average who are infected because of a positive patient, has also been rising steadily, as it reached 1.88. This number is calculated based on the data of the last 10 days and a number higher than 1 shows that the virus is spreading. Furthermore, data from the Ministry shows that according to the traffic light system used in Israel for denoting the levels of infections in different areas, Tel Aviv is now under the ‘red’ category. A total of 57 localities had been defined as areas with high infection rates.
These included Modiin, Rehovot, Nazareth, Beit Shemesh, Tel Mond, Herzliya and Givatayim. One of the areas that has been defined as ‘orange’ is Jerusalem. The rising infections has put the testing system in Israel under a considerable amount of strain, as there were long lines at testing facilities throughout the country. On Sunday, the positivity rate of the tests was about 4.83%, which is another indication that the virus is spreading. According to health experts, the number of infected individuals is significantly higher in reality because lack of testing means that a number of cases are undetected.
A computational biologist working at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Eran Segal stated that a credible picture of the spread could not be obtained from the verified cases. An adviser of the coronavirus cabinet of the government, Segal said that it would be patients in serious condition who would offer a credible picture. Meanwhile, Monday saw thousands of students go back to the distance learning method once more, as regulations for ‘green classrooms’ had expired and officials were unable to come to an agreement about extending them.
As of Monday morning, there were almost 1,500 classes that comprised of 45,000 students, who could no longer be permitted to stay in school, even though they were eligible for the program. Under this system, any student who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 could return to the classroom, if they could present a negative PCR test. The class was no longer required to quarantine for an entire week. In addition, the students have to take a rapid antigen test every day and have a negative PCR test result on the last day of isolation. They would still have to remain in quarantine after school, which means they could only attend classes.