Covid-19 is fast vanishing from Israel. The R rate (basic reproduction number) has fallen to 0.53, the lowest number since the outbreak of the pandemic, and an average of 463 new daily cases have been diagnosed in Israel in March. On Monday 356 new cases were found, down from 974 the previous week. There are currently only 8,268 active Covid cases in Israel and not a single Israeli town is now defined as 'red.' There are currently 405 seriously ill patients hospitalized with Covid, the lowest figure since December, and the number of new serious cases is dwindling.
It is undoubtedly Israel's highly successful vaccination rollout which is responsible for the rapid disappearance of the virus. 5.24 million Israelis have been vaccinated, including 4.76 million who have had two Pfizer doses, according to the Ministry of Health. 87% of over 50s have been inoculated, 70% of people over 20, and 50% of the 16-19 age group. 40% of recent new cases in Israel are people aged 19 and under.
Prof. Doron Gazit of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's morbidity monitoring team says the latest data makes him highly optimistic. He said, "An average of 350 new cases per day out of 40,000 tests with an R number of about 0.5, tells us that at any given moment, there are probably less than another 200 infections that we don't know about. Some of them are in isolation because of the system to break the infection chain, which is becoming more and more effective. In other words, the likelihood of bumping into somebody who has Covid is very low. This data is important and allows us to think about more relaxations, and in particular stopping wearing masks when outside and places, which are not crowded and in meetings between people who are vaccinated."
Meanwhile the Ministry of Health's central laboratory has identified an Israeli variant, which it says has no epidemiological or clinic importance. However, the IDF Intelligence Unit Data and Information Center continues to warn that, "The main issue requiring risk management is the arrival of variants into Israel from abroad."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 31, 2021
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