As coronavirus appears to be in decline in Israel, in the Gaza Strip the pandemic has seen a dramatic surge, with a record number of new daily cases diagnosed in the Palestinian enclave on Tuesday.
Gaza's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that 1,916 new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed a day earlier out of only 5,000 tests conducted. This is the highest number of new daily cases since the start of the outbreak in the Strip.
Due to limited testing, Gaza's health authorities believe the actual number of daily cases is four times higher than the official figure.
In addition, about 300 patients are hospitalized in intensive care units across the Strip. Medical staff has said if the situation doesn't improve, hospitals would be forced to stop accepting young patients due to overcrowding.
Due to surge in infections, the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza, has decided to impose several new restrictions, including the shuttering of the education system, as well as increased enforcement on the streets.
These measures are a continuation of the restrictions imposed last week, including the closure of venues, a ban on gatherings, as well as a night curfew that starts at 9pm every evening.
At the same time, Hamas has launched an aggressive awareness campaign about the consequences of the pandemic and risks of catching COVID.
The campaign includes, among other things, informational videos showing coronavirus patients in hospitals, patients being resuscitated and images from the funerals of 642 people who died from the pathogen in the Strip.
The vaccine-needy enclave has thus far received around 100,000 doses from Russia, the United Arab Emirates, UN's COVAX program as well as Israel.
Despite this, only around 25,000 out of Gaza's two million citizens have been inoculated.
Meanwhile, Israel is preparing to inoculate 7,000 Palestinian merchants from the Gaza Strip, who regularly pass through Israel and the West Bank.
According to the outline, which has not yet been approved, Qatar will be the entity that will fund the purchase of 14,000 vaccine doses - two per merchant - from pharma giant Pfizer.