24,600 people get their 4th vaccine shot

Daily COVID cases surge past 10,000, near all-time record

Tally jumps by over 4,000 relative to previous day, but serious cases climbing at far more moderate pace; Health Ministry chief gets 4th vaccine, urges others to follow suit

Cars line up at a drive-through COVID-19 testing center at Expo Tel Aviv, January 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Cars line up at a drive-through COVID-19 testing center at Expo Tel Aviv, January 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel confirmed 10,720 new coronavirus cases on Monday, nearing the country’s all-time record with an increase of more than 4,000 infections over the previous day, according to figures published Tuesday morning.

The figure far surpassed the 6,576 cases recorded on Sunday, and put the all-time daily record of 11,333, recorded on September 2, within range.

The R basic reproduction number, representing the average number of people each virus carrier infects, climbed to 1.91. Any figure over 1 means the outbreak is growing.

Active cases further rose to 46,455 — a figure that was around 8,000 two weeks ago — including 236 people hospitalized for COVID-19 complications.

Of those, 117 were in serious condition. That figure has seen a far more moderate increase during the current outbreak, before which it stood at 77.

The positive test rate also continued to climb, with 5.51 percent of the 197,614 tests performed Monday coming back positive.

The national death toll stood at 8,247.

According to the Health Ministry, 6,586,219 people have received at least one vaccine dose, 5,935,206 have gotten two shots and 4,273,928 have received a third dose, out of a population of around 9.45 million.

People shop at a market in the central town of Ramle, December 31, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The ministry said 24,600 people have received their fourth shot since Israel became the first country in the world to begin distributing extra boosters to its elderly population and health workers.

With case numbers continuing to rise, Israel is pinning its hopes on beating back an expected Omicron-driven wave on giving an extra boost of vaccine protection to those most at risk. On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that all Israelis aged 60 and over and medical workers would be eligible for the shots, joining those with immunosuppression.

As of Monday evening, some 95,000 people had made an appointment to get a fourth shot, according to Channel 12 news.

Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash got his fourth vaccine dose on Tuesday and urged all Israelis aged 60 and up to get their boosters to minimize serious illness during the current COVID-19 surge.

Ash, 60, was inoculated at a Maccabi healthcare clinic in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon.

Ash said he was excited to get the additional shot and called on others to follow suit and get boosters.

“We deliberated a lot over the fourth vaccine. It took a few days until we approved it, but now that we have approved it, we are confident that it will help the country deal with the outbreak,” he said, according to a Health Ministry statement.

“I hope that during the complicated time expected for us, with many infections, we can reduce serious illness thanks to the vaccine and make it through,” he said.

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