For the first time in over four months, the number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel dropped to below 150, health officials said on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry reported that out of 6,450 active coronavirus patients in the country, 147 are severely ill, with 101 of them connected to ventilators.
The figure of seriously ill cases appears to be the lowest since July 26, when the number stood at 123, reaching a peak of 767 on August 29 during the fourth wave driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
The ministry also reported that 257 Israelis have been diagnosed with coronavirus since midnight. The infection rate stands at just 0.59%.
The death toll since the start of the pandemic sits at 8,109.
More than 4 million Israelis have already received a third booster dose of the COVID vaccine.
Health Ministry officials on Wednesday evening approved Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
Officials are set to conduct the inoculation campaign through Israel's health funds rather than in schools, as was previously proposed by some officials.
This direction is affected by two key variables: the vaccination rate in schools of children aged 12-16 and the belief that parents would prefer to be near their kids during the vaccination procedure, which will be possible at clinics.
On Thursday, Israel will hold a nationwide drill to prepare for the possibility of future coronavirus variants, the prime minister’s office said Wednesday.
The exercise, to be run out of a situation room in Jerusalem, will be a simulation that deals with coordinating various high-level officials and bodies to prepare for a new COVID strain, nicknamed the "Omega" strain for the purposes of the drill.
The gathered officials will deal with a wide range of scenarios and work to coordinate and make decisions related to the restriction of movement, quarantine, education, air travel and more.