Ministers in the State of Israel have stated that they will have a meeting this week to talk about a potential preliminary exit from the third lockdown that the government has implemented in the country. However, it is expected that no final decision is likely to be made until the sit-down scheduled for Wednesday.
The lockdown was implemented on a Thursday at midnight and was supposed to be lifted two weeks later on a Thursday.
Various Health Ministry officials, inclusive of Itamar Grotto, the Deputy Director-General, have said that they believe that the lockdown will be extended by a week. He added that as of now, the Ministry is keeping an eye on the number of cases in the country, as well as those who are in critical condition.
According to a computational biologist employed at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Prof. Eran Segal, the delay by a week is good news, especially for those who want to ensure that the economy opens up for the long-term. He has been advising the government on various situations throughout the pandemic.
He took to Twitter on Friday to write that the number of patients in the country, who are above the age of 60, has declined by 25%. In addition, there has also been a decline in the number of people in this age group, who are critically ill.
Segal also highlighted that cities where there are greater vaccination rates have fewer seriously ill patients. He stated that this could be the effect of vaccines or people strictly adhering to coronavirus guidelines for fear of being infected.
He further clarified on Twitter that a halt in morbidity has been noted. However, he said that Israel will have to wait for a couple of days to make sure that the infection rate has stabilized, and consequently declining before any further decisions are made.
Nearly 4,000 people have died from the virus in the country, as 9,000 new cases are popping up on a daily basis.
On Friday, the Health Ministry revealed that more than 123,000 tests were conducted, of which 7.7% gave a positive result. As of now, around 1,141 patients are in a serious condition, whereas 291 are intubated. The death toll stands at 3,892.
Currently, the Ministry is trying to come up with a specific criteria to use to indicate when the country should exit the lockdown. Up until now, the relevant authorities were using the reproduction rate (R) to determine how many people will be infected by one positively diagnosed person. If the R was below 1, it was taken as a good sign.
However, the health teams have announced that they will also be keeping an eye on the number of serious cases in the country. Moreover, with different mutations starting to emerge, it is more important to check the morbidity and seriousness of the infection.
Health experts have expressed concern that the South African, Brazilian, and British mutations could cause the virus to spread quicker than usual. This could cause a potential significant increase in the number of cases in the country if the economy is reopened.