Coronavirus: Reproduction rate falls below 1, over 3m. Israelis vaccinated

Some 200,000 people were inoculated on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Israelis are seen walking in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market amid the coronavirus pandemic, on January 12, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israelis are seen walking in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market amid the coronavirus pandemic, on January 12, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The coronavirus reproduction rate in Israel – which reflects the ability of the disease to spread – has fallen below 1 for the first time in at least a month and a half, a Thursday morning update by the Health Ministry showed. This means that each person infected with the disease is on average passing it on to less than one person (0.99): a key figure to reverse the high morbidity, as the country also crosses the threshold of over three million people vaccinated.
On Wednesday, 8,174 new coronavirus cases were registered, according to the ministry’s report.
Some 93,283 tests were administered and around 9% of them returned a positive result. As of Thursday morning, some 1,169 patients were in serious condition, with 317 intubated. The death toll stood 4,179, with an increase of 37 people since the previous day.
Also on Wednesday, the ministry announced the launch of a campaign to sensitize the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector on the risk of the pandemic and the necessity to abide by the rules. The numbers of infected and deaths among the ultra-Orthodox have been especially dramatic, as have been the violations of the health guidelines reported in the haredi towns and neighborhoods.
While the situation in Israel remains serious, with the number of patients in critical conditions putting an unprecedented strain on the health system and the number of new daily cases per capita among the highest in the world, the country also continues to vaccinate at a record pace.
With some 200,000 people inoculated on both Tuesday and Wednesday, over three million people have received at least the first shot, including 80% of those over 60 year old. In addition, about 600,000 Israelis have already obtained both vaccines against the virus.
While currently the possibility to get a vaccine is restricted to people over 40 – as well as medical staff, teachers and those carrying pre-existing conditions – more experts are advising to open the system to the general population.
“In this time of raging epidemics and mutations - vaccinating the entire population ages 16 and over should not be a question, it should be a fact," Dr. Noy Cohen, Senior Pediatrician at Ashdod’s Assuta Medical Center said.
On Wednesday, Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer and a member of the of Health Ministry’s committee devoted to develop prioritization protocols said Israel did not need to restrict its vaccination campaign to targeted groups anymore, as there were enough vaccines to open up to the general adult population.
Earlier in the day, Clalit, the largest health fund in the country, opened appointments to 35-year-olds because the health fund’s daily capacity to inoculate – 100,000 shots a day – exceeds appointments and therefore they wanted to avoid any waste of materials or manpower.