With coronavirus infection rates peaking every day for the past week, tens of thousands of unvaccinated Israelis - mainly minors aged 12-15 years - have been rushing to get inoculated against COVID-19.
There are currently 1,760 active cases of COVID-19 in Israel, with more than 100 cases in Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba, Binyamina and Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut. Dozens of cases have also been reported in Herzliya, Kochav Yair, Petah Tikva, Ramle, Jerusalem and Netivot.
The recent surge has been attributed to the high contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Israel saw 193 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the highest daily count since the start of April. Some 63,000 tests were conducted, yielding a positivity rate of 0.5%.
Tuesday also saw the highest number of vaccinations in three months, with 16,321 people receiving the first jab and 3,279 receiving the second.
More than 90,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccination since June 20, most of them aged 12-15 years.
The head of public health Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis on Tuesday told lawmakers that the current surge in infections was largely due to community spread and people breaching their quarantine.
The outbreak in Petah Tikva has been attributed to a couple who sent their daughter to school in violation of quarantine restrictions that were imposed after she came into contact with a confirmed carrier. The school was shut down earlier this week after 20 students were infected and six entire classes placed in isolation.
With infection levels climbing, hospitals around the country on Wednesday said they were bracing for a potential fourth wave of COVID-19.
"The medical teams are exhausted, they've not yet recovered from the previous waves and will not be able to stand another one," a health official told Ynet on Wednesday as he urged people to get vaccinated.
Despite the concerns, there has so far not been a rise in hospitalizations and serious cases but some health officials remain apprehensive.
"It was obvious to us that removing the [indoor] mask mandate was a mistake," a health official said.
"Most hospitals kept the mandate in place inside their facilities and it appears they were right to do so," he said.
"This is the time to remind people that the pandemic is not over, and we must not be complacent," said Rian Amin, a nurse at Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa who has been treating COVID-19 patients since March 2020.