The number of serious coronavirus patients in Israel has dropped below 100, the Health Ministry reported on Tuesday, as the government approved lifting restrictions including raising the cap at gatherings to 500 outdoors and 50 indoors, and allowing venues that function under the green pass outline to resume full operation with no further restriction.
The last time Israel registered such a low number of patients – 90, compared with the current 93 – was July 6, 2020. The figure spiked to 113 the following day, and from there it rapidly climbed for the next six months.
There were over 300 serious patients at the beginning of April, and 1,200 for several days at the peak of the pandemic in January.
“We are very pleased with this result,” said Tomer Lotan, executive director and policy chief at the National Coronavirus Taskforce. “We feel that in the past few months we have found the correct way to lead the country, not only in terms of the vaccination efforts but also in all the aspects that accompany them, the green pass outline and other policies.”
The number of active cases is also continuing to drop, currently at 1,244.
Israel has registered fewer than 100 new cases per day for the past week, while the rate of tests returning positive has remained stable for several days between 0.1 and 0.3. During the peak of the year’s three pandemic waves, the figure exceeded 10%.
In addition, the virus reproduction rate, or R, which measures the number of people each virus carrier infects on average, has stayed at around 0.8 for over a month, showing that the pandemic continues to recede.
As the epidemiological situation continues improving, the government approved the Health Ministry’s recommendation to lift further restrictions. Beginning on Thursday, all green pass venues will operate at full capacity as well as serve food.
In addition, gyms, swimming pools, and other sports facilities will be able to function under the “purple ribbon” standard, which is based on social distancing requirements rather than personal vaccination status. All purple ribbon venues will be able to welcome a customer for every seven square meters of size.
The cap on gatherings was raised from 20 indoors to 50, and 100 outdoors to 500.