Israel has recorded its highest number of new coronavirus infections on record – due to the ultra-contagious variant of Omicron – despite travel restrictions and required quarantines, the government reports.
Tuesday’s record 11,978 cases diagnosed marks the highest number of new infections reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
The previous record was set on September 2 with 11,345 new infections recorded during the wave of the Delta variant.
Omicron, first detected in South Africa, is apparently more contagious but causes fewer cases of serious illness and death, especially in those vaccinated.
In Israel as elsewhere, the variant is spreading so quickly – demanding tests, schools, hospitals and airlines – that some experts are asking to focus on hospital admissions instead.
These, along with deaths from the coronavirus, are not climbing as quickly – the result, experts say, of the protections offered by vaccinations.
The rapid rise in infections has moved Israeli leaders away from the clear protocol of vaccinations, testing, quarantine and contact tracing that characterized the government’s response at the start of the pandemic. The country’s rapid vaccination from the start made Israel a world leader.
Today, Israel is believed to be the first country to offer a fourth vaccine to people 60 years of age and older, as well as those with weakened immune systems.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that the first results of a study at Sheba Medical Center showed an almost five-fold increase in antibodies in people who had a fourth jab.
Israel is rapidly changing rules and practices to adapt, including reducing quarantines to prevent the economy from shutting down.
Australian Associated Press