Israel at War with COVID-19

On Wednesday Israel reintroduced limits on gatherings, as well as rules on social distancing in businesses, in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates in the country. With Monday’s figure of 8,726 new cases, daily infections have reached levels not seen for six months, which is a big disappointment after they had been reduced to an average of around twelve a day.

Israel’s Health Ministry said there are currently 581 serious cases among 57,000 active infections. Since the start of the pandemic, 956,310 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Israel, and 6,704 have died.

120 of those people died with the virus in the past week – more than double the number for the whole of July and more than 15 times the number in June.

That led Israel’s Coronavirus Commissioner, Prof Salman Zarka, to say:

“I believe we are at war. Our morbidity is rising day by day.”

He continued:

“The time until the eve of Rosh Hashanah is the critical time - or God forbid,
 the virus will defeat us and we will get to a lockdown like the first and second ones,
where we do not go farther than 100 meters from our houses.”

As part of the nation’s efforts to avoid such a lockdown during the High Holidays in September, Magen David Adom is set to open some 220 antigen test centres around the country.

The government is still discussing whether to impose restrictions on outdoor restaurant seating, swimming pools and other leisure facilities.

For a couple of weeks Israel has been giving older members of the population a third, booster vaccination, and with the start of the school year just two weeks away, the government also agreed upon an approach for opening classrooms.

They have decided that students in Grade 8 and higher will learn remotely if they live in ‘red’ cities or other places with high infection rates.

Here is ILTV’s report on the latest decisions: