Israel's top coronavirus health official Prof. Salman Zarka on Monday expressed cautious optimism Israel may soon be past its fourth wave of COVID-19 as the infections continue tapering down nationwide but hinted that some pandemic-induced restrictions will stay in place to prevent a fifth wave.
"We are very optimistic about the decline we are seeing in the infection rate, in the number and percentage of new positive COVID cases, and in the number of severely ill and ventilated patients," Zarka told a press briefing. "We assume that within two weeks, a little longer maybe, the number of seriously ill in hospitals will also go down.
While we are optimistic that we are coming out of the fourth wave, it is important to note that we are not there yet. The risk still exists, the virus is still spreading among us. We must learn the lessons of the third wave and keep our vigilance. Our working assumption is that the virus is still raging worldwide and there are still new variants. We should be careful and see how we manage our daily routine so there won't be a fifth wave, God forbid."
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry on Monday reported that 1,457 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of 78,787 tests carried out over the previous 24 hours, putting the countries contagion rate at 1.88%.
There were 25,155 active coronavirus cases across the country and hospitals were treating 447 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, 186 of them were connected to ventilators.
Since the onset of the pandemic in Israel, 7,920 people have lost their lives to the disease.