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New daily infections top 10,000 for 4th day, but serious cases fall further

Expert advising government says morbidity declining faster than recently predicted; relaxed quarantine rules for those immunized against COVID take effect

Health personnel take test samples on Israelis wanting to travel abroad, at a COVID-19 test temporary station in Safed, northern Israel, on August 31, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Health personnel take test samples on Israelis wanting to travel abroad, at a COVID-19 test temporary station in Safed, northern Israel, on August 31, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Health Ministry on Friday reported 11,210 new coronavirus infections the day before, but serious cases continued declining amid a national campaign to administer vaccine booster shots.

Israel has now recorded over 10,000 new cases for four straight days, with Thursday’s figure slightly below the daily record of 11,265 infections confirmed Wednesday.

Despite surging infections, serious cases have begun falling since peaking at 753 on Sunday, with the Health Ministry reporting 667 people in serious condition from COVID-19 complications as of Friday morning.

The positive test rate Thursday was 8.43 percent, the highest it has been during the current wave of morbidity.

The death toll stood at 7,122, with 13 fatalities recorded Thursday.

The Health Ministry also reported 6,005,150 people have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,501,924 of them have gotten two shots; 2,493,222 have been administered a third dose.

A man receives a vaccine in Jerusalem, on August 24, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Morbidity is continuing to decline even faster than the scenario we presented two weeks ago. Hopefully it will continue like this,” Eran Segal, a Weizmann Institute computational biologist who is a top government adviser on COVID, wrote on Twitter.

Segal attributed the record levels of daily infections to increased testing of children around the start of the school year, which began Wednesday.

Also Friday, new quarantine rules for arriving travelers took effect, with those now defined by the Health Ministry as immunized exempt from having to self-isolate for a week.

Under the new guidelines, which were announced Sunday as the booster shots were made available to all Israelis eligible to be vaccinated, anyone who received a third dose at least a week before only has to quarantine for a day or upon receiving a negative test result.

The exemption also applies to those who have had their second vaccine dose within the last six months or those who recovered from COVID in the past half year. Following the six months, anyone who recovered must receive a vaccine shot to continue to be exempt from quarantine.

The relaxed quarantine rules do not apply to travelers coming home from “red” countries with high infection rates, where Israelis are currently barred from visiting without special permission.

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