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Serious COVID cases dip below 300 for first time in 10 weeks

Coronavirus positivity rate drops below 1% for the first time since early July, as Bennett touts Israel’s COVID model as an example for the world

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Empty beds are seen in the intensive care unit at the coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on October 14, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Empty beds are seen in the intensive care unit at the coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on October 14, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

For the first time since early August, there were fewer than 300 Israelis with serious cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, according to the latest Health Ministry statistics.

As of Sunday evening, there were 284 serious coronavirus cases in Israel, down from 704 only a month ago. There were 11,977 active COVID cases in the country on Sunday, with 414 of them hospitalized, 284 in serious condition and 148 of them on ventilators.

Just 330 people in Israel tested positive for COVID on Saturday, with a positivity rate of 0.97 percent. The positivity rate dropped below 1% for the first time since early July, although new confirmed cases tend to be lower over the weekend, when fewer people seek out testing.

The rate of daily COVID deaths has also been dropping in recent weeks, with two people dying on Saturday, four people dying on Friday, and six dying on both Wednesday and Thursday.

As new cases drop, the rates of COVID vaccinations have also plummeted, despite the fact that more than a million eligible Israelis have yet to receive a booster shot. On Thursday, close to 12,000 people received a booster dose, while last Thursday the figure was over 16,000 and two weeks ago it was close to 34,000. As of Sunday evening, nearly 67% of all Israelis have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 42% have received all three.

In remarks ahead of the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel’s success in defeating its fourth wave can serve as a lesson to other nations.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) and other ministers attend a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on October 24, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

“We are currently exiting from the Delta wave. This morning, we have dropped below the 300 severe cases threshold,” said Bennett. “However, in Europe and in many countries, winter is coming and the morbidity – and, I regret, mortality – numbers are jumping.”

Bennett added that Israel has “knowledge that could be critical for many countries, after all we have just been through this, and we are continually and openly sharing this knowledge with the world.”

He also announced that the government was earmarking NIS 10 billion ($3.1 billion) to deal with possible future coronavirus waves that “could happen in another month, another six months, or not at all.”

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