Well being ministry chief as positivity price tops 3%: ‘We’re not seeing a slowdown’

Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash said Sunday morning that new regulations have not yet brought any measurable slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus in Israel as it tackles a resurgent outbreak amid the spread of the Delta variant.

On Sunday morning, the positivity rate of those tested for COVID-19 was over three percent, the highest in months.

A day after the total number of serious COVID-19 cases topped 200 for the first time since mid-April and hit a new high in daily cases, Ash told public broadcaster Kan that the Ministry of Health was concerned about that things could get worse.

“The rate of positive tests has exceeded 3% and we are not seeing any slowdown in morbidity,” said Ash. “We monitor the data. I can say and reassure you that the number of people wearing respirators has not increased much. But it definitely worries us. “

According to the Ministry of Health on Sunday morning, 2,080 COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Saturday, with 3.17 percent of the 73,710 tests performed being positive.

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There were 212 serious cases, 11 more than at midnight. Of these, 42 were in critical condition, 37 of them were on ventilators.

The death toll rose to 6,474, with one death since midnight.

Members of the civil hospital team at the coronavirus ward in Safed on July 28, 2021 (David Cohen / Flash90)

In total, there have now been 874,807 confirmed COVID cases in the country since the pandemic began.

Two days after Israel began giving the third vaccination to people over 60, Ash said the vaccination would help fight the virus, but raised concerns that booster vaccinations would be required all the time.

“The number of patients in serious condition is expected to be reduced in the coming weeks,” he said.

“It’s possible the third vaccine will last longer … I really hope we don’t need a vaccine every six months and it could be like the flu – an annual vaccine,” he added.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told health care leaders Friday that the government’s goal is to give 1.5 million Israelis over 60 years of age a booster over the next week.

“This is not a long operation, it will be quick and furious,” Sigal Rosenberg, chief executive officer of Meuhedet HMO, told the Ynet news site on Friday, explaining that another target of the vaccine campaign is to hit the hospitals in the coming weeks to relieve and prevent them from being overrun by elderly coronavirus patients.

Israel’s decision to start third doses comes amid a battle to contain a recent wave of coronavirus infections, which has skyrocketed from just dozen per day a month ago to an average daily case number of from over 2,000 this week.

An Israeli man is seen in the Israeli city of Ramat HaSharon on July 30, 2021 after receiving a third Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (AP / Sebastian Scheiner)

In a Saturday interview with Channel 12, Health Secretary Nitzan Horowitz defended Israel’s decision to approve third vaccinations for the elderly instead of waiting for US regulators as it did prior to the use of coronavirus vaccines last year.

“Any waiting or delay in making a decision would cost lives. More people would develop severe morbidity or die, ”he said.

Horowitz, who is too young to get a third dose at 56, said his parents would be given booster injections.

He was also asked about the prospect that the government will impose further restrictions to curb the rise in cases.

“My policy is a balanced policy,” he said, stressing that his goal is to balance the fight against the virus with making it possible for Israelis to work and go to school. “I don’t want a lockdown and will not do it [from] a lockdown at any cost. There were terrible consequences. “

On Sunday, Ash said both the health and education ministries wanted schools to open on Jan.

“I hope we can get through the holidays without further restrictions,” he said.

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