On Saturday night, data from the Health Ministry showed that more than 50,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Israel over the weekend. This included David Amsalem, the Likud MD, and the Finance Minister, Avigdor Liberman. There was also an increase in the number of serious cases by almost 80, which brought the total to 387. The data from the ministry showed that this figure included 93 people on ventilators. But, there was also some positive news, as the ‘R’ number, which measures the number of people infected by every COVID carrier, was on a downward trend.
In recent days, the number has been declining, as on Monday, it stood at a high of 2.12, but had now reduced to 1.71. This number is calculated on the basis of data obtained 10 days earlier and a value above 1 indicates that the infections are spreading. Liberman tweeted on Saturday that he ‘feels good’ and was currently isolated at his home in Nokdim, the West Bank settlement. He added that he would continue to work on developing a responsible economic policy and would plan ahead, keeping track of all relevant data. According to the Health Ministry, the total number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday was 39,015.
By 5 p.m. on Saturday, another 11,351 people had tested positive for COVID-19. In the past week, the Omicron variant has been spreading rapidly throughout Israel, as it has resulted in a total of 267,734 active patients in the country. Another 193,762 people in Israel have also been forced into quarantine because of this rampage, according to ministry figures, after they were exposed to an infected person. There was a continued increase in the positive test rate, as it reached 14.02% on Friday, which marks an all-time record positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic.
A number of coalition members, which include Omer Barlov, the Public Security Minister (Labor), Yair Lapid, the Foreign Ministry, along with Idan Roll (Yesh Atid), his deputy minister have tested positive as well. There are also MKs including Yomtob Kalfon (Yamina), Michael Biton (Blue and White) and Emilie Moatti, who were also positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Other than Amsalem, the opposition also had members infected, including three Likud MDs in this week alone, who are Etty Atia, Ofir Katz and Haim Katz. Despite the lawmakers missing, sessions of the Knesset continued as per schedule.
Friday and Saturday saw four more people die in Israel because of COVID-19, which brought the death toll to 8,303. During the peak of the fourth wave brought on by the Delta variant, there had been daily deaths of about 20 for a couple of weeks, but the death toll has remained in single digits in the current wave. New quarantine rules were also imposed in Israel from Thursday, which shortened the isolation period of asymptomatic patients of the coronavirus to seven days instead of 10. But, anyone who is displaying symptoms is still required to isolate for 10 days.