Drive-thru coronavirus testing center in Jerusalem

Health czar reports over 70,000 new virus cases, but number could be much higher

Prof. Nachman Ash says he believes real daily tally could be as high as 200,000, as Health Ministry's reporting system down for the third day running; severe cases up to 526

Adir Yanko |
Published: 01.19.22, 12:39
Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said on Wednesday day that 71,593 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus the previous day, but added he believed the real figures were much higher.
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  • Addressing yet another high in Israel's record-shattering virus outbreak — stoked by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Ash told Army Radio he estimated the real number of infections was likely as high as 200,000.
    2 View gallery
    בדיקות קורונה בירושלים
    בדיקות קורונה בירושלים
    Drive-thru coronavirus testing center in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The ministry has failed to report the tally of daily coronavirus cases for the third day running, citing "overload" on its computer systems due to the high number of infections reported. Ash said he hoped the problem would be solved as soon as possible.
    "This wave is challenging us at every step. In testing, quarantine, computing systems, hospitals — these numbers are immense and keep challenging us," he said.
    He further stated that Israeli hospitals were treating 1,591 coronavirus patients, although his ministry has already conceded that part of those in-patients were hospitalized for other reasons and just happened to also carry the virus. According to Ash, 526 of them were hospitalized in serious condition, up from 498 as reported on Tuesday.
    Ash said in an interview Tuesday he believed Omicron will begin subsiding within a week.
    2 View gallery
    פרופ' נחמן אש בתדרוך לעיתונאים
    פרופ' נחמן אש בתדרוך לעיתונאים
    Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash
    (Photo: GPO)
    Health Ministry officials have been deliberating in recent days on whether to abolish the Green Pass requirement and allow those who are not fully vaccinated to enter public venues and events.
    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday joined the call to scrap the document — which allows people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease to enter public accommodations — as the rapid spread of the elusive variant renders it obsolete.
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