HomeWorld NewsKey COVID-19 reproduction figure hits 3-month high as new outbreak intensifies

Key COVID-19 reproduction figure hits 3-month high as new outbreak intensifies

As COVID-19 infections continued to rise steadily, a key figure measuring the spread of the virus hit its highest value in three months on Sunday.

The virus’s basic reproduction number, or R value, reached 1.44, with the ministry reporting that 3,259 new patients had been diagnosed the previous day.

The R-value, which represents the situation 10 days earlier, measures the number of people each coronavirus carrier infects on average, with any number above 1 meaning that the spread of COVID-19 is increasing. It started climbing back above 1 in mid-May, after remaining below the threshold for nearly two months.

Of the 11,606 COVID-19 tests taken on Saturday, 29.77% came back positive, the highest rate since the first week of April.

There were 105 patients in serious condition, according to ministry figures. The number of seriously ill people has been steadily declining since mid-March, but over the past month has plateaued and has now started to rise slightly.

Coronavirus czar Salman Zarka told 103FM radio on Sunday that he did not yet consider the country to be in a full-blown outbreak, but urged the public to resume wearing face masks.

Coronavirus czar Professor Salman Zarka seen during a press conference near Tel Aviv on November 9, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Zarka said only “the tip of the iceberg” is being recorded and there are significant numbers of people not testing themselves when they have symptoms of COVID, or not reporting to authorities if a test is due. home returns a positive result.

“We are seeing an increase. We take this seriously and are doing assessments,” Zarka said. “The public, especially at-risk populations, is strongly recommended to return to wearing masks indoors.”

But he said there was no intention at the moment to introduce restrictions on the public as they have been applied for the past two years.

“We are not at a point of restrictions. We are only at the start of a climb,” said Zarka.

There are now 25,859 confirmed active patients in the country.

Health ministry officials will meet this week to discuss reimposing an indoor mask mandate, the Kan public broadcaster reported on Saturday.

The indoor face mask rule, which had been one of the last public health orders related to the virus, was lifted on April 23. Masks are still needed in health and medical centers.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz met with health officials and agreed that no new virus restrictions would be implemented at this stage.

Zarka said at the time that health officials would assess the possibility of recommending a fifth dose of the vaccine to certain segments of the population, but a health advisory team later said it did not recommend rolling out yet. another reminder, and said such a decision would again be weighed against morbidity rates.

Israel has largely dropped all of its coronavirus restrictions except for isolation for those who test positive and a mask requirement in medical facilities.

Israel has gone through five waves of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began in 2020. It has made mass vaccination a central strategy to fight the virus, and Sunday’s figures showed that so far , out of a population of some 9.5 million, 6,710,267 had received at least one dose.

Of these, 6,141,921 had a second hit and 4,495,625 had three hits. There are also 814,955 people who received four doses.

Since the start of the pandemic, 10,872 people in Israel have died from COVID-19.

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