Israel again on Wednesday saw over 8,000 new daily coronavirus cases, while the number of ventilated patients has reached a record high, health officials said.
The Health Ministry said that 8,511 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Tuesday, after 92,709 tests were had been conducted, putting the contagion rate at 9.2%.
Out of 82,930 active patients battling the disease, 1,113 are in serious condition, with 308 connected to ventilators, the highest the figure has been since the outbreak in Israel. The death toll now stands at 4,142 after 21 more patients passed away on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that over 200,000 Israelis have been vaccinated against coronavirus on Tuesday. According to Edelstein, 2,272,000 Israelis have already received their first dose and 550,000 their second.
"With this pace, we will beat the mutation," he said.
Edelstein on Tuesday ordered Health Ministry DG Prof. Hezi Levy, who oversees the vaccination campaign, to raise daily inoculations to 250,000.
Ministers Tuesday voted to extend the full nationwide lockdown until the end of January as the country for the first time saw 10,000 coronavirus infections in one day.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the cabinet meeting proposed to extend the lockdown until Sunday, January 31, with most ministers supporting the proposal. Netanyahu said the extension of the lockdown will aid the expansion of the vaccination campaign.
"We need to make an effort to boost vaccination drive, and for that to happen we need to extend the lockdown. We need to buy time, while there is a lockdown, it is possible to vaccinate millions. We need to go wherever there is a lag in vaccinations 'with a hammer' - the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities - until all of us are vaccinated," he said.
The government also approved the measure that would see anyone boarding a flight to Israel be forced to present a negative coronavirus test, done no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
First published: 08:15, 01.20.21