Covid’s death toll remained unchanged in Israel on Thursday, with the country conducting the world’s largest vaccination campaign on a per capita basis, recording no new daily deaths for the first time since June 2020.
The number of people who died from the virus remained at 6,346 Thursday – the same as the day before, new data from the Israeli Ministry of Health showed. It marks the first time that Israel has not reported any coronavirus-related daily deaths in more than ten months.
Only 129 new cases of the disease were recorded, with a positive test rate dropping to 0.4%. So far, Israel has seen a total of 837,870 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
There were just under 1,900 active infections, with 160 seriously ill patients, including 97 on ventilation, the ministry said Friday.
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Death and infection rates have declined in Israel since the peak of the pandemic in late January. The decline comes amid a massive vaccination campaign that has already seen more than 5 million people, or nearly 58% of the population, receive both shots of the Pfizer-BioNtech blow.
The country was also subjected to a rigorous blockade, which resulted in violent protests, including among the Orthodox Jewish community. The severe travel restrictions introduced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government prevented many Israelis from returning home, but were later overturned after the High Court court ruled the measure unconstitutional.
Israel has gradually removed the brakes from the coronavirus in recent weeks, reopening schools and businesses and easing travel guidelines. During the weekend, citizens could go out without masks.
But the country’s medical authorities remained concerned about the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19, a “double mutant” strain of the virus, which recently caused a spike in cases in India. Seven people in Israel have already tested positive for the new variant. They were all unvaccinated travelers returning to the country.
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“We don’t feel comfortable” Chezy Levy, director general of the ministry of health, said Thursday, adding that the mutations could make the Indian variant more resistant to vaccines and increase its transmissibility.
Earlier this week, Israel issued a travel warning to India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey – all countries where Covid-19 infections are on the rise – in order to prevent the entry of new coronavirus strains.
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