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Serious COVID cases in Israel fall below 300 for first time since early December

In further sign pandemic is abating, only 0.5% of tests come back positive, the lowest rate in almost a year

Ilustrative: Hadassah Ein Kerem staff members work in the hospital's coronavirus ward, in Jerusalem on February 1, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Ilustrative: Hadassah Ein Kerem staff members work in the hospital's coronavirus ward, in Jerusalem on February 1, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition fell to its lowest level in over four months on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to ebb in Israel.

According to the Health Ministry, there were 294 serious cases, the first time since early December the figure was below 300.

Serious cases peaked at 1,192 on January 17 as the country was in the midst of a third coronavirus wave, but have since steadily declined amid a gradual fall in morbidity and the continued rollout of Israel’s world-leading vaccination drive.

Among the patients currently in serious condition, 159 were on ventilators.

The Health Ministry reported 303 new infections Tuesday and a further 123 since midnight, bringing the number of cases since the pandemic began to 835,163. Of those, 4,791 were active cases.

The death toll stood at 6,262, with six fatalities recorded Tuesday. No deaths had yet been recorded Wednesday.

United Hatzalah medical workers test a patient for COVID-19 in Jerusalem on February 10, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The ministry also said 0.5 percent of the 59,842 coronavirus tests conducted Tuesday came back positive. That positive test rate was the lowest since last May, when Israel was emerging from the initial wave of the pandemic.

Nearly 5.29 million Israelis have gotten at least one shot of coronavirus vaccine and over 4.8 million have received both doses.

With the pandemic receding, Israel has significantly rolled back coronavirus restrictions in recent months, reopening businesses, event venues and other activities.

Ministers were expected to approve a further easing of lockdown measures on Wednesday night, including allowing more people at gatherings and ending the requirement for some students to study in small groups at school.

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