According to the figures published by the Health Ministry on Saturday, the total number of patients in serious condition because of COVID-19 in Israel has increased to 732. Experts believe that the new Omicron wave of the virus in the country is almost near its peak. A top epidemiologist working at the Weizmann Institute and part of the government’s coronavirus cabinet, Eran Segal predicted that the number of infections will go down in the coming week. He said that infections had already decreased in people aged 60 and above and they would continue dropping to 50,000 to 40,000 a day.
Last week, the total number of daily cases had exceeded the 70,000 mark. Segal also said that the number of patients in serious condition could increase to somewhere between 800 and 1,000. He said that Israel had dealt with a similar caseload back when the Alpha variant had resulted in a wave. According to Segal, the number of serious cases caused by the Omicron variant in Israel was much lower than those caused by the Delta variant. As per the Health Ministry data, the total number of people diagnosed on Friday was about 54,000.
Meanwhile, the total number of active cases in Israel had reached 442,000. However, it should be noted that newly confirmed infections are a lot less on the weekend because of the reduced number of tests conducted. Israeli officials had been forced to adjust their response to the pandemic because of the massive number of infections caused by the Omicron variant but reduced per capital deaths. Media reports have indicated that Health Ministry officials have acknowledged that their initial predictions about the Omicron variant were very bleak.
The reports indicated that the officials felt obligated to focus on the worst-case scenarios and they think that being cautious was the right thing to do for them. Furthermore, members of the coronavirus cabinet have also talked about loosening the isolation rules applicable for adults. In addition, there are also plenty of officials who want to eliminate the need for a Green Pass, which is given to those recovered from the virus, who get a negative test within 48 hours or are vaccinated. In recent days, the Finance Minister, Avigdor Liberman has also been calling for removing the Green Pass requirement.
Adjustments have also been made in the education system for dealing with the Omicron wave, but the coming week may see a shortage in the number of teachers because of the recent changes in the rules. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had made an announcement last week about scrapping off the mandatory isolation for schoolkids exposed to an infected individual. Scheduled for implementation from Thursday, the plan indicates that children up to the age of 18 would no longer have to isolate once they have been exposed to a carrier. Instead, two antigen tests would have to be conducted by both vaccinated and unvaccinated students on Wednesdays and Sundays.
As long as they test negative, they would be permitted to enter the educational institute.