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Israel records no new daily COVID deaths for first time in 10 months

Fatalities, infection rates continue steady decline since pandemic’s peak in January as country pushes forward with vaccination drive that has seen over 5 million get both doses

Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward in Jerusalem on January 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward in Jerusalem on January 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

For the first time in ten months, no new COVID-19 daily deaths were reported Thursday in Israel, according to the latest Health Ministry figures.

In data released Friday, the death toll remained unchanged from the day before at 6,346. The last date there were no new fatalities was June 29, when morbidity levels remained subdued following the initial coronavirus wave.

The ministry said of the 35,027 tests performed Thursday, 129 new cases were recorded, a positive test rate of 0.4 percent. The country has logged 837,870 confirmed infections since the pandemic began.

The number of active infections further fell to 1,897, with 160 patients in serious condition, including 97 on ventilators.

Israel has seen a sharp drop in daily mortality and infection rates since the pandemic peaked in late-January, as the country pushes forward with its world leading vaccination drive.

A young Israeli receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection, at a Clalit vaccination center in Holon, February 4, 2021. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

On Thursday, the Jewish state passed the milestone of over 5 million people having received both vaccine shots.

According to the Health Ministry, 5,005,418 second doses were now in Israeli arms, accounting for nearly 54% of the total population and more than 80% of the eligible population over the age of 16.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the health system and Israeli citizens. Together we are eradicating the coronavirus,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein tweeted Friday.

Just under 58% — 5,374,276 — of all Israelis have gotten both shots.

Israel’s world-leading vaccination program, which is based on the Pfizer-BioNtech two-shot vaccine, has seen it maintain the highest per capita inoculation rate in the world since it began in late December.

The country is preparing to start vaccinating children aged 12-15 as soon as the US Food and Drugs Administration approves vaccine use for children in that age bracket.

Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levi said Thursday that once that age group has been vaccinated, the country will reach herd immunity and there will be no need to inoculate younger children, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Also Thursday, the Health Ministry issued a travel warning to seven countries caught in a wave of virus infection, citing concerns of possible coronavirus strains that may be more resistant to vaccines.

The countries listed in the travel warning were Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey.

The ministry further said all Israelis, including the vaccinated and recovered, should generally avoid any “unnecessary” international travel altogether.

Passengers seen at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)

The warning came as health officials express concerns over a new mutated strain detected in India, which is dealing with one of the worst outbreaks since the pandemic began in 2019.

As infections have dwindled, Israel has rolled back restrictions on public life, including lifting the requirement to wear face masks outdoors, which ended on Sunday.

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