By Our Reporter
TEL AVIV, Israel|SHIFTMEDIA| Despite hopes of a vaccine soon, the number of deaths due to COVID19 has hit the 3,000 mark with high rates of infection reported.
With the help of vaccines, Israel will be able to return to a relatively normal routine around April, Israel’s coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash on Monday morning.
“I estimate that within a few months – in March, April – we will already have vaccinated a significant mass of Israeli residents so that we can open up the economy, return to being active and more or less return to a normal life,” Ash said in two radio interviews with Army Radio and Kan Bet. “I hope we can celebrate this Passover without the restrictions on gatherings, surrounded by our families.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also sounded optimistic, telling the public on Sunday that “we are beginning the end of the pandemic,” and announcing that the first Pfizer vaccine in the country will be administered this coming Sunday.
However, before that can happen, Israel still has to go through a very tough December, as rising numbers of infections and deaths are leading many to believe Israel is heading towards a third lockdown.
The IDF Intelligence Directorate’s National Information and Knowledge Center for Battling COVID-19 warned on Monday morning that “Given the current value of the infection coefficient, the number of verified is expected to rise to about 2,500 per day on a weekly average, by the end of the month.”
On Thursday, the government decided on the following scenario
: Over Hanukkah, Israel will maintain its current level of restrictions. If at any point Israel exceeds 2,500 new coronavirus cases a day or reaches a reproduction rate (R) of 1.32, a period of “tightened restraint” will be applied.
This tightening will last three weeks. If at the end of that period, the reproduction rate falls to one or lower, the current restrictions will be reimposed. If the R rate has risen or remains at its current level, the country will head into a lockdown.
Israel’s Health Ministry on Monday morning reported that 1,707 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the country on Sunday, with a positivity rate of 3.4%.
Some 353 patients are in serious condition, of whom 122 are intubated. Since the pandemic began, 357,859 cases have been diagnosed in Israel, while the death toll has now reached 3,000.- Jerusalem Post