A coronavirus ward at the Sheba Medical Center

Israel sees its COVID infection rate drow below 1% for first time since July

Bennett announces NIS 10 billion to fight future waves of pandemic, Alroy-Preis tells legislators Health Ministry concerned over possible arrival of vaccine resistant strains of COVID-19; FDA expected to approve vaccine for 5-11 age group

Yaron Drukman, Nina Fox |
Updated: 10.24.21, 12:28
The Health Ministry on Sunday said the positivity rate of COVID infections dropped below 1% for the first time since July.
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  • According to the ministry, 324 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Saturday after 33,500 tests conducted indicating a 0.73% positivity rate.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים שיבא
    מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים שיבא
    A coronavirus ward at the Sheba Medical Center
    (Photo: Reuters)
    There are currently 307 people being treated for serious complications of the virus with 157 on ventilators.
    Some 76% of the gravely ill patients have not been vaccinated and among those over 60 the percentage was found to be 89%.
    After five people died on Saturday, Israel's fatality rate stands on 8,046.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that his government has budgeted NIS 10 billion to fight future waves of the coronavirus pandemic.
    "We are creating an economic and health safety net to prepare for future waves and will enable us to operate at times of low morbidity and in case of more waves, based on lessons learned during previous months," he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday
    (Photo: AP)
    The ministry's head of Public Medicine, Dr. Sharon Alroy Preis said on Sunday that the pandemic is in retreat. "We expect to see less than 1,000 new cases daily."
    Speaking to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Alroy-Preis said she was concerned about the spread of new variants of the virus.
    "We are concerned that vaccine resistant variants could arrive from other countries. The risk of renewed morbidity comes from people who had not been vaccinated and from new variants," she said.
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    אוהל בדיקות הקורונה החדש בנתב"ג
    אוהל בדיקות הקורונה החדש בנתב"ג
    Testing for coronavirus at the Ben Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Avi Chai)
    Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that the likely benefits of giving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to 5 to 11-year old children clearly outweigh the risks of rare cases of heart inflammation.
    Earlier on Friday, the vaccine makers said their shot showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children 5 to 11 years old.
    The FDA is expected to approve administration of the vaccine to young children on Tuesday.
    Former Director General of the Health Ministry, Professor Hezi Levi said that after approval is given by the American Health regulators, Israeli health experts will evaluate the safety of vaccines that he believes are necessary.
    "A substantial percentage of daily confirmations of COVID-19 are found in children between the ages of 5 and 11 and vaccinating that age group will be an important step towards reducing morbidity," he said in an interview to Ynet.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסוני קורונה לילדים
    חיסוני קורונה לילדים
    A young child is vaccinated
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "Despite the drop in confirmed cases, we find children are infected by the Delta variant in growing numbers and there is a risk of long-term effects of the virus.
    Levi said the Barzilai Medical Center, which is administers, has one Coronavirus ward with 14 patients, three of them on ventilators and most of them unvaccinated.
    "Our other virus wards were turned back into internal medicine departments, which are also needed," he said.


    First published: 11:46, 10.24.21
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