On Monday, a top health official in Israel said that the country seems to be ready to go back to normal life and live alongside COVID-19. The director of public health at the Israeli Health Ministry, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said that they were reaching ‘normalization’. She said that they were taking several steps to reach this goal, which include no longer requiring school going children to quarantine and the same is applicable to people coming from abroad. These comments were made as the latest data from the Health Ministry showed that the pandemic was once more abating in Israel, as the transmission rate went below the 1 mark in two weeks for the first time.
This indicates that carriers of the coronavirus are infecting less people than before. However, Alroy-Preis said that even though the outlook was upbeat, it was important to remember that new variants would likely pop up and would bring a threat of renewed outbreaks in the future. She said that it was essential to remember that changes and variants tend to happen at very high speed, due to which there were some restrictions still in place and were also monitoring the situation abroad in order to identify any potential risks.
She went on to say that the coronavirus was different from other kinds of respiratory viruses and in this regard, they still could not be certain about anything. Alroy-Preis also emphasized on the importance of the vaccine for combating the disease and said that inoculation was the reason for the lack in mortality and increase in serious cases, even though the number of cases had gone up recently. The requirement for wearing face masks indoors is still in place and Alroy-Preis stated that it was unlikely for this to be lifted anytime soon. She asserted that there were still thousands of cases being diagnosed on a daily basis, which meant that face masks would be required indoors.
The health official said that people need to follow the requirement. In the last few days, the number of new cases each day has been around 10,000, or below, which is lesser than the 14,000 cases that were being identified in late March. The latest statistics from the Health Ministry showed that the total number of tests conducted on Sunday was around 59,638 and 10,664 cases had come back positive. This brought the positivity rate to about 17.88%.
The total number of active cases in Israel was around 58,341 and patients in serious condition in hospitals were 254 with 98 of them on ventilators. There has not been a similar increase in serious and critical cases as the total number of cases recently. The death toll in Israel since the pandemic started has reached 10,530. According to health officials, part of the reason for the increase in cases in the country is Omicron’s sub-variant known as BA.2 that has been found to be more contagious, but not that serious. There is a possibility that the upcoming Passover holiday in Israel could lead to a rise in cases, as there are no such restrictions on gatherings.