Contagion rate and reproductive coefficient continue to rise in a sign of a possible new infection wave spurred by Omicron variant; Bennett to meet with health officials on possible new restrictions
Sheba Medical Center’s coronavirus ward(Photo: Reuters)
For the second straight day, Israel on Tuesday saw over 1,000 new daily coronavirus cases — as fears increase of a new infection wave spurred by the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The Health Ministry said 1,306 people tested positive for COVID on Monday, and after 104,334 tests were conducted, the infection rate now stands at 1.27% — the highest the contagion rate has been in two months.
The virus’ “R” reproductive number has also risen and now stands at 1.28%. The number above 1 indicates infections will grow at an exponential rate, while below 1 point to their eventual halt.
Despite the rise in cases, there is still not a similar uptick in hospitalizations.
The Health Ministry reported that hospitals are treating 81 patients in severe condition. It was reported that about 76% of them were unvaccinated. The ministry also said that 41 patients are connected to ventilators, a decline from Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic, 8,232 people have succumbed to coronavirus-related complications.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is set to meet later on Tuesday with health officials on possible restrictions after a meeting a day earlier ended with no decision on the matter.
During Monday’s meeting, ministers present said that there was no point in implementing restrictions given the current state of morbidity in Israel, especially not caps on public gatherings — which some warned will send the country’s economy “into a tailspin.”
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said officials looked at various options to stop the spread of the variant, including limits on gatherings, expanding the Green Pass requirement to the entire commerce sector, and ending subsidies of antigen tests for unvaccinated children.