Since the beginning of January, 114,390 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus, beating the tally of the previous three months combined — 42,754 in December, 14,923 in November and 44,993 in October — as the country grapples with a record-smashing COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, 10,248 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of some 84,000 tests carried out until 6:30 pm Sunday, putting the country's contagion rate at 12.8% — the highest such figure since September 2020.
Also on Sunday, Israel has confirmed 1,500,000 coronavirus infections since the onset of the pandemic. The Jewish nation became the 35th country in the world — and first with a population smaller than 10,000,000 — to reach this grim milestone.
Israeli hospitals were treating 204 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, 53 of whom were connected to ventilators.
Since the onset of the pandemic, 8,269 Israelis succumbed to COVID-19, one of them on Sunday. Since the beginning of the month, 18 patients have passed away, compared to 49 in December.
The daily number of patients hospitalized in serious condition for COVID-19 rose to 53 — the highest since October 1. Hospitals have recorded 241 new severe cases in January, compared to just 205 throughout December.
Meanwhile, a former government minister said on Sunday that Israel was on the verge of a "catastrophe" in the wake of rising COVID-19 infections and was taking an "insane" gamble with the lives of children by not implementing stricter health control measures.
Yuval Steinitz, a former energy minister for opposition faction Likud, told Ynet that the government's argument against enacting a lockdown for fear of economic instability is flawed since the economy would also suffer any in case the country's hospitals are overwhelmed with patients.