Jerusalem, 21 June, 2022 (TPS) — The number of patients with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) hospitalized in serious condition has more than doubled in the past week, the Health Ministry updated Tuesday.
The new BA5 strain is responsible for the majority of the cases and is considered even more contagious than the original Omicron strain.
The BA.5 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant. BA.5 was first detected in South Africa in February 2022, and since has become the dominant variant there together with the BA.4. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stated in May that the observed growth advantage for BA.5 is likely due to its ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time.
According to the Ministry of Health’s data, a very high 27.55% of the COVID-19 tests done Monday returned positive. The ministry recorded 10,692 new cases in the past 24 hours. Officials estimate that the number of positive cases is considerably higher.
The R coefficient, which indicates the spread of the virus, was registered in Israel at 1.3 on Tuesday, pointing to a spread of the virus. The R has been above 1 for about a month.
190 patients are hospitalized in serious condition, still a relatively low number for Israel. However, the number has more than doubled in the past week with a 116% increase, indicating a sharp spike in the cases and a potential strain on the health system.
A total of 4,178,053 Israelis have been recovered from COVID-19 since the outbreak in March 2020.
10,911 Israelis have died of the virus in the past two and a half years, including 15 in the past week.
Israel has currently no significant COVID-related restrictions in place. Officials have recommended that those at risk wear masks, and there is talk of the government placing an actual requirement to do so in public places and on public transportation. However, with the dramatic collapse of the government, it is unclear if any official will take the lead on the issue.