Israel has 700 COVID-19 BA.2 cases - coronavirus commissioner

A slight drop in serious infections was reported, with the number dropping down to 1,235 from 1,263 a day prior.

 Ziv Medical Center, Safed team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward, Tzfat, February 1, 2022. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Ziv Medical Center, Safed team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward, Tzfat, February 1, 2022.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

A total of 52,600 new coronavirus cases were reported across Israel on Sunday, Health Ministry data showed on Monday morning, bringing the total number of cases seen since the start of the pandemic to over 3.2 million.

The number of tests taken on Sunday, both PCR and antigen, amounted to some 187,000, with 28.16% of them returning a positive result.

A slight drop in serious infections was reported, with the number falling to 1,235 from 1,263 a day prior. The number of deaths, however, increased from 9,139 to 9,180 as of Monday morning.

There are currently 377 people in critical condition with COVID-19, among whom 293 are intubated and an additional 20 are on ECMO machines.

To date, 4,449,101 have received the third vaccine, and 667,071 people have received a fourth dose as well.

 Ziv hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat on February 01, 2022.  (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90) Ziv hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat on February 01, 2022. (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

Speaking at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Israel’s coronavirus commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka reported that there were currently around 700 cases of the new Omicron BA.2 subvariant in Israel. Some people were infected abroad and returned with the variant, he said, but others contracted it in the country.

“We are worried that BA.2 will increase serious morbidity,” he said. “We have about 700 cases, and the global picture shows that the disease is more contagious but does not produce a more severe clinical picture than that of Omicron.

“Although the picture is not clear right now, we will continue to monitor it and hope.”

When asked during the conference if the hospitals are in danger of collapsing under the intense strain they have been put under by the Omicron wave, he answered in the negative.

“The hospitals are not in danger of collapsing,” he answered. “While there are hospitals with more overcrowding, they are still providing what is needed. It’s being said transparently: As the number of patients increases - there is difficulty in providing necessities. But we are helping the hospitals together with the help of [medical] students and with the help of the Home Front Command, in order to allow for a better response.”

He ended the press conference with comments on the new school testing system, saying that “from the reports received, there are more children coming to school and studying, and this in and of itself is an important achievement that fulfills the motto of living alongside COVID-19.”