Covid surges in Israel with over 10,000 new cases on Sunday

The Health Ministry is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss reimposing Covid restrictions


Magen David worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom drive through complex in Jerusalem, on June 20, 2022. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Over 10,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Israel on Sunday, marking the highest number confirmed in a single day since April 4.

A total of 10,202 cases were confirmed on Sunday of a total of 29,681 tests conducted, putting the positivity rate at 38.9 per cent, according to figures from Israel's Ministry of Health.

Israel’s virus reproduction rate (R rate) currently stands at 1.32 as of Monday morning, which is a fall 1.52 earlier in June. The R rate is based on Covid rates from the previous 10 days.

The R rate measures how many people a person infected with the virus are transmitting the virus to, with any number above one meaning that the virus is spreading.

The Health Ministry also confirmed that 168 people are in serious condition in hospital with Covid-19, which is a rise of 95 per cent from the week before. 37 people are in critical condition.

The total number of people who have died from Covid in Israel since the pandemic began over two years ago stands at 10,908, with 13 deaths over the past week.

On Monday, doctors were told to begin preparing to reopen dedicated Covid-19 wards, The Times of Israel reports.

The outlet adds that Israel is currently confronting the spread of a new subvariant of Covid, known as BA.5, and that infections have steadily been rising over recent weeks.

In response, health officials are reportedly considering reintroducing Covid restrictions including the mandatory wearing of masks indoors and vaccinations for the youngest children.

Israel scrapped its remaining internal Covid restrictions on April 24, and removed all travel restrictions in late-May, meaning that this would be a rapid return to restrictions that many Israelis thought were gone for good.

Speaking to the Ynet news site on Friday, immune system expert Prof. Cyrille Cohen of Bar Ilan University said: “The data clearly indicates that the virus remains active in the community. The tell-tale sign is the number of patients in serious condition, since we know that many of the cases do not get detected as people who show no symptoms don't get tested.”

He added: “What determines government policy is not so much the number of confirmed patients but the condition of the seriously ill ones. We need to understand whether they are experiencing the disease in a more severe way — and whether we will need to get ready to reopen coronavirus wards this summer.”

Rising Covid cases and the possibility of reintroducing measures to combat it will be the topic of a Health Ministry meeting on Tuesday.

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