Tel Aviv, 10 August 2021 (TPS/dpa/MIA) — More than 6,000 coronavirus infections have been recorded in one day in Israel for the first time in six months.
As the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday, 6,275 cases were recorded on Monday. At the same time, the number of seriously ill patients is approaching the 400 mark: 394 seriously ill Covid-19 patients were treated in Israeli hospitals on Tuesday. The condition of 87 of them was classified as critical, and 64 are on life support.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, 6,559 Covid patients have died, over 80 of them since the beginning of August.
Some 58 percent of the approximately 9.4 million Israelis are fully vaccinated.
Recently, the Ministry of Health had presented figures showing that the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccination used in Israel has declined sharply since the beginning of June.
According to the ministry, the vaccination prevents infection with the coronavirus only 39 percent of the time and severe illness 91 percent of the time.
At the same time, the more contagious delta variant is spreading in the country.
The government is in a race to vaccinate the population aged 60 and over with a third vaccine, a booster shot, amid concerns of waning immunity.
Israel is the first country in the world to take this step to provide a Covid-19 booster shot, even before the FDA approved it.
Health authorities hope to curb the rise in infections, or at least the number of severe Covid-19 cases, with the third booster shot, and by urging those who have not been vaccinated at all to go and do so.
The Ministry of Health on Monday said that out of close to 600,000 Israelis vaccinated with a third dose so far, less than 50 people have reported side effects. Recipients complained of mild symptoms that passed quickly, such as pain at the injection area, fever and nausea.
Around one million Israelis have yet to receive even one vaccination, and this process has almost reached a stalemate.
Data from the Ministry of Health shows that among unvaccinated people aged 60 and over, the chance of developing a serious illness is several times higher, up to eight times, than in those who have been vaccinated with at least two doses.
In view of the rising numbers of infections, stricter measures have been in force again since Sunday, including mandatory masks at outdoor events with more than 100 participants.
Even events with fewer than 100 participants may now be attended only by those who have been vaccinated, those who have recovered, or people with a negative coronavirus test result. Children, too, must now show a negative coronavirus test result upon entry.
Representatives of the Ministry of Health do not rule out further tightening, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a countrywide lockdown, Israel’s fourth.