Coronavirus in Israel: Less than 1,000 active cases in the whole country

A family returning from abroad and breaking the quarantine requirements has generated several new cases of Chilean variant, the Health Ministry said. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Fewer than 1,000 active coronavirus cases remain in Israel, the Health Ministry reported Sunday morning.
The last time the country registered a lower number was March 22, 2020, when 945 people tested positive for the virus, compared with 985 on Sunday. That was the situation during the beginning of the pandemic, even before significant restrictions had been put in place. In the months that followed, the number of cases increased.
At the peak of the second and third waves, in October and January, there were more than 70,000 and 80,000 active cases, respectively. While restrictive measures helped lower the numbers, the situation was not as good as what exists today.
Thanks to a successful vaccination campaign – about 5 million vaccinated people out of a population of 9.3 million – Israel is currently one of the leading nations in the world in the fight against COVID-19. For comparison, Belgium, with some 11 million people, has some 106,000 active cases. Austria, with a population of 9 million, has some 17,000 active cases. Norway, with 5 million people, has 26,000 cases.
“Israel presents: How vaccines beat COVID-19 (for now),” Eran Segal, a computational biology professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, tweeted on Sunday. “Since mid-Jan peak: 99% fewer cases (now ~5 daily cases per million) 98% fewer critically ill (now ~0.4 daily per million) 98% fewer deaths (now ~0.2 daily per million).”
“Life is back to normal, very few restrictions remain,” he added.
For the past two weeks, Israel registered fewer than 100 new cases per day, and the percentage of tests returning a positive result remained below 0.3%. In previous months, thousands of new cases were identified daily, with a positive rate that climbed as high as 10% and more.
Over the past week, 10n people succumbed to the virus. When the pandemic was raging, dozens of deaths sometimes occurred within 24 hours.
Some 84 patients remain in serious condition, similar to the number from previous days. But that is a fraction of the 1,100 or more serious patients who were registered in January and also a fraction of the limitation of 700 to 800 patients the hospital system was said to be able to handle without compromising on quality of care.
“It does seem that Israel has found the right recipe to go beyond COVID,” National Coronavirus Task Force Executive Director Tomer Lotan told The Jerusalem Post last week.
“As long as the rest of the world is still suffering so badly because of the disease, as long as there is the chance that a new variant emerges, it is hard to say that we are past it,” he warned.
Indeed, infected people returning from abroad have been one of the health authorities’ main concerns, especially because of frequent cases of people breaking quarantine requirements.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry announced that as a result of a family returning from abroad and not keeping the mandatory quarantine requirements for those who are not vaccinated – including children – some 24 people were exposed to a coronavirus carrier, generating some seven new cases infected with the new Chilean variant.