The weekly number of new coronavirus infections has fallen to the lowest level since June 2020, as severe cases hit a three-month low, according to data released on Friday.
According to the Department of Health, only 2,479 new cases were discovered last week, against 5,011 the previous week, the lowest weekly count in ten months, reported the Walla news site.
The number of COVID-19 patients in Israel in serious condition fell to 368 on Friday, the lowest rate since December 2020. The number has been falling steadily for several weeks, after reaching a record high of 1,201 – January.
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The baseline reproduction number, the daily share of positive coronavirus test results and the number of active cases have all trended downward for several weeks.
The number of active cases fell further to 6,581. Thursday’s results, which came from 35,768 tests, represented a positive infection rate of just 1% – or 331 new cases.
Staff at Shaare Zedek Hospital wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem on February 3, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
The baseline virus reproduction number was 0.61. Any number less than 1 means the epidemic is subsiding. The figure represents the situation of 10 days ago due to the incubation period.
With no deaths reported overnight, the toll stood at 6,220 on Friday morning.
The pandemic continued to diminish after the success of Israel’s vaccination campaign, which saw a majority of its citizens get vaccinated.
Israel has so far vaccinated more than 4.8 million people – or more than 51.67% of its population – with two vaccines against the coronavirus. About 56.49% of Israelis, or more than 5.2 million, have received at least one injection of the vaccine.
With regard to vulnerable populations, these figures are much higher. More than 90% of all Israeli residents over the age of 50 are completely inoculated with two vaccines or have recovered from the virus.
Israel began to emerge from its third national lockdown in February, with an economy now wide open. Restaurants and cultural venues have reopened to the public – with some restrictions – and travel within the country is mostly free of coronavirus limitations, especially for those vaccinated.
Israel almost exclusively uses the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine and inoculates everyone from the age of 16. The Department of Health said on Wednesday that the country would start vaccinating adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 when US and European regulators approve the move. Recent results from a study on the vaccine’s effects on 12-15 year olds showed it to be very safe and effective.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has expressed optimism that vaccines will be approved for children under 12 in the fall of 2021. The company has already started vaccine trials in young children.