In yet another grim single-day record, Israel on Wednesday reported nearly 44,000 new daily cases diagnosed a day earlier as the Omicron variant of coronavirus continues to rage across the country.
The Health Ministry said 43,815 people tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. After 362,336 tests had been conducted, the national infection rate now stands at 12.09%.
The virus' reproduction number, R, has also increased and now stands at 2.02, which indicates a widespread contagion of the pathogen. The R number is the average number of secondary infections produced by a single virus carrier.
The ministry also reported that hospitals are currently treating 781 people for the virus, with 254 of them being in serious condition, out of whom 63 are connected to ventilators.
On Tuesday, 72 new serious patients were admitted to hospitals, the highest single-day tally of serious patients since the end of September, while another 23 severely ill were reported from midnight Wednesday.
Since the start of the pandemic, 8,274 people have succumbed to coronavirus-related complications in Israel.
In the meantime, some 73,550 schoolchildren are currently classified as active COVID patients, while another 98,285 are currently in isolation. On Tuesday, another 14,789 schoolchildren tested positive for coronavirus and the rate of infection among them stood at 10%.
Israel announced late Tuesday it was ending the pediatric vaccination campaign in schools, having jabbed only 56,000 children aged 5-11 - corresponding to between 40% and 50% of the student body.
In Israel, there are currently some 223,000 active COVID patients, the vast majority of whom are suffering from mild symptoms.
Of that number, 28,760 live in Jerusalem, 15,810 in Tel Aviv-Yafo, 7,206 in Petah Tikva, 7,028 in Rishon Lezion, 6,063 in Bnei Brak, 5,534 in Holon, 5,454 in Netanya, 5,067 in Haifa, 4,152 in Ramat Gan, 4,013 in Beit Shemesh, 3,834 in Be'er Sheva, 3,763 in Ashdod, 3,169 in Rehovot, 3,164 in Rehovot In Modi'in Maccabim Reut, 2,834 in Modi'in Illit, 2,812 in Herzliya, 2,662 in Bat Yam, 2,615 in Kfar Saba and 2,248 in Raanana.