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CoronavirusIsrael Coronavirus Updates January 2021

Israel Coronavirus Updates January 2021

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Reading Time: 22 minutes

Last Updated on June 29, 2021

News highlights – Israel Coronavirus updates for January

The highly contagious mutation of the coronavirus was first detected in the United Kingdom in December, and it continues to spread.  Cases have been reported in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada and the Middle East including Israel. Most cases have been linked to travel from Great Britain, where the variant was first detected.  South Africa and Brazil are also reporting a new strain of the coronavirus. As we are all rejoicing over the vaccine and the pace Israel is vaccinating its citizens, the months ahead may be more complex and more perilous to navigate as the variants seem to be  more transmissible, which means it will likely require an even greater effort to keep spreading under control.

coronavirus quick read

News sources: Channel 13, N-12, Jerusalem Post, YNet, Times of Israel, HaAretz and Globes, Israel MOH and Worldometer (based on the United Nations Geoscheme) for daily statistics

25 January – 6:48am

  • Ben Gurion Airport to shut down to all incoming and outgoing travelers commencing January 26th at 00:01 until the end of January and perhaps into February.  Emergency cases are dealt with via the Ministry of Health. 
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 597,403  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 69,516 active cases
    • 2,401 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 30,897 tests performed yesterday with a  8% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,010
    • 1,149 in serious condition of which 333 are reported to be intubated
    • 57 deaths recorded yesterday. Death toll stands at 4,419  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 40
    • 64,578 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to 2,570,622 people and1,081,099 have received their second dose

24 January – 7:45am

  • Real possibility that NATBAG – Ben Guion International Airport will be shuttering today.  Final decision pending. If you have an emergency situation you can make application to exit the country (if there is a flight).
  • Public hospitals – as of today will not be accepting patients unless their condition is life-threatening.
  • Vaccination drive extends to 16 – 18 year olds and pregnant women will also be given priority.
  • Head (Admor) of the Vishnitz community calls for all yeshivot to open today. Police will be actively monitoring the situation in the Haredi community in an attempt to prevent the reopening of the yeshivot.
  • Tu B’Shvat on Wednesday – a real ‘big test’.  Will unlawful public gatherings and celebrations take place, or not?
  • Some roadblocks, in main centers, will be removed early today to allow easy traffic flow and prevent congestion.  The rest will remain in place.
  • Over 10,000 fines issued over the weekend to those contravening corona directives.
  • The MOH deliberates if ending the lockdown in one week, as planned, is the right way to go.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 593,961  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 76,668 active cases
    • 7,346 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 86,016 tests performed yesterday with a  8.9% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,209
    • 1,177 in serious condition of which 342 are reported to be intubated
    • Death toll stands at 4,341  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 38
    • 64,578 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to 2,497,600 people and 946,954 have received their second dose

22 January – 7:45

  • The Ministry of Health confirms vaccination of 16 – 18 year olds which will enable them to take their bagrut matriculation exams.  It has not yet been decided if they will be vaccinated at school or via the HMOs.  Prof. Itamar Grotto said it was a logistical issue that needed to be sorted out.
  • Commotion in Bnei Brak last night when two police were attacked by a mob of residents.  An unlawful gathering was being investigated when things got out of hand. A policeman and policewoman were injured outside a yeshiva were the gathering was taking place. PM Bibi Netanyahu says that those who raise a hand at our police will be severely dealt with.
  • More road blocks can be expected this weekend and fines will be issued to those contravening the lockdown directives.  The police have urged the public, in spite of the lovely weather, to stay at home.
  • When will this lockdown end? Ther MOH may even want the lockdown extended further.  The British variant is causing a rise in infection. They are hopeful that the numbers of seriously ill will show signs of dropping next week. Public hospitals are collapsing under the strain and, from Monday, will not accept corona patients whose lives are not in danger.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 585,746  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 82,029 active cases
    • 7,099 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 81,828 tests performed yesterday with a  8.9% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,580
    • 1,128 in serious condition of which 310 are reported to be intubated
    • Death toll stands at 4,245  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 36
    • 63,372 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to 2,441,379 people and 850,811 have received their second dose

21 January – 7:14

  • On today’s agenda – the possible vaccination if 11th and 12th grade pupils prior to their bagrut matriculation exams
  • There is also a move to open the vaccination drive to all remaining populations, ages 40 and below.  Approximately 80% of those above age 60 have been vaccinated which means that the rest of those vaccines allocated to that age group could be given to any age-group.  Against official instruction, 2 of the health funds are already administering the vaccine to all members of the public and all are pressurizing the government to do so.  The HMO’s say that have the manpower to vaccinate more people on a daily basis.  Does Israel have sufficient stocks of the vaccine in order to open up the drive at this stage?  The matter is under discussion.
  • Raising fines – this issue has been on the table since September and it has turned into a battle between the Likud and Blue & White parties.  Benny Gantz, Alternate Prime Minister demanded that fines be raised as a condition of the lockdown.  While Netanyahu agreed to this condition, he is procrastinating further action.  He seems to be delaying the matter in the hope that the current lockdown will end before a vote and will therefore automatically become a non-issue.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 575,842  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 83,272 active cases
    • 8,568 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 95,996 tests performed yesterday with a  9.2% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,969
    • 1,168 in serious condition of which 316 are reported to be intubated
    • Death toll stands at 4,181.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 35
    • 62,608 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to  2,316,294 people and 631,003 have received their second dose

20 January – 7:13

  • It’s official – lockdown until January 31st.  This may not be the last lockdown and this one may even be extended further if necessary. The upcoming elections are on the politicians’ minds and all want the best turnout possible.
  • No changes will be made to the current directives except that 11th and 12th graders will be allowed to take their matric bagrut exams at school and university students, who do not have access to the internet, will be able to take their exams on campus.
  • Yesterday’s positivity rate was the highest ever – 10.3% of the population that tested for the coronavirus yesterday were found to be positive.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 565,629  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 82,652 active cases
    • 10,051 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 100,878 tests performed yesterday with a 10.3% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,938
    • 1,147 in serious condition of which 293 are reported to be intubated
    • Death toll stands at 4,080.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 32
    • 61,498 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to  2,215,963 people and 479,818 people have received their second dose

19 January – 6:30am

  • Yes, the lockdown will be extended.  All that needs to be decided now is the end-date; January 31st or February 5th – the corona cabinet has yet to decide.
  • What about NATBAG? What will be the fate of travelers coming into Israel and outgoing Israelis? Rules for NATBAG had somehow fallen off the agenda. Incoming travelers have been sent to corona-hotels or  into isolation, but according to the system none have been required to present a negative corona test upon entering Israel as Israelis are expected to do when traveling to other countries.  This effectively caused a huge leak of infected travelers entering the country. There is no talk of shutting down the airport completely.  Miri Regev, Minister of Transport “It is impossible to shut the airport. Why? Thousands of Israelis need to return home and new immigrants must enter the country.” During an interview on Channel 13, Monday night, she said that testing must be done at the airport.  Up until now NATBAG has been operating under the purple- and blue-badge system. Israel’s attorney general has now agreed that stronger measures must be taken in order to seal the leak from NATABG into Israel.
  • Back to the exit strategy; As expected, Gantz demands that schools be re-opened (all grades) and Katz demands an opening of the market place.  The Finance Ministry are to meet to discuss their criteria and possible stimulus packages.
  • Some information results of the vaccination campaign in Israel so far:
    • 9 pregnant women have been hospitalized and are in serious condition (pregnant women are advised not to get vaccinated)
    • 69 people have become infected with the coronavirus since receiving their second dose – 3 are in serious condition.
    • 12,000 have been infected since receiving the first dose of the vaccination
  • 12,000 students from the Ultra-orthodox community have been infected in the last week.
  • Sheba-Tel Hashomer hospital announced that their study of the vaccine shows a high success rate and that those that have received the second dose have up to 20 times more coronavirus antibodies. They report that their study shows better results than those of the manufacturers of the vaccines.
  • First delivery of the Russian “Sputnik” vaccine is expected in the Palestinian territories today.
  • While the number of newly infected is less than it was at the beginning of the lockdown,  the positivity rate remains high.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 558,249  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 80,663 active cases
    • 5,629 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday (11:15am update – 10,022 is the total number of cases diagnosed yesterday)
    • 64,432 tests performed yesterday with a 10.2% average positivity rate (100,694 is the final figure)
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 8,168
    • 1,166 in serious condition of which 293 are reported to be intubated
    • 48 deaths recorded yesterday – death toll: 4,044.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 31
    • 60,695 cases per million population
    • First dose of the vaccine had been administered to  2,171,466 people and 410,021 people have received their second dose

18 January – 7:09am

  • Israeli tourist (infected with the coronavirus) returning from Dubai is suspected of infecting over 100 people on the aeroplane during the 5 hour flight.
  • Will lockdown be extended? Most of the ministers in the corona cabinet are in favor of extending the lockdown.  Those who are against hope that a final decision will be deferred and only made towards the end of the week when it will be easier to determine if the infection rate has indeed dropped significantly.  By then, the effect of the lockdown and the vaccination campaign, should bring clearer results.
  • Long queues at vaccination centers as the 45+ age group are now entitled to get their vaccination.  It is hoped that the 40+ age group will qualify for vaccination by the end of this week.
  • Director of Ministry of Health: We do not expect a reduction in the number of seriously ill in hospitals and the pressure will continue.  Extra hospital beds in the corona wards are needed.
  • Hospital directors: Because of the overload caused by the coronavirus, hospitals might be forced to compromise on care.
  • Following the tragic death of Moshe Harazi z”l  over the weekend, first investigations show that there were no technical or mechanical faults or issues with the medical equipment.  It seems that the medical staff were overloaded with administrative tasks; answering the phone and admitting new patients and for this reason it was not noticed that the ventilator had become detached.  Medical staff attempted resuscitation to no avail as his heart had already collapsed.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 551,589  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 80,436 active cases
    • 5,616 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 63,516 tests performed yesterday with a 9.1% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 8,144
    • 1,130 in serious condition of which 273 are reported to be intubated
    • 24 deaths recorded yesterday – death toll: 4,005.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 30
    • 59,617 cases per million population

17 January – 6:33am

  • Israel still leading the world-wide-way with its vaccination campaign with one four citizens having already having received at least one vaccination.
  • In spite of the vaccination campaign a record number of seriously ill hospital patients has been recorded.  Hospitals are struggling and collapsing under the strain.
  • Tragically, Moshe Harazi z”l  – aged 47 – a hospital patient at Ichilov, passed away after it was discovered that his ventilator had become disconnected. By the time hospital staff checked in on him, it was already too late.
  • From today, hospitals will have to reduce the staff in regular wards and increase staff in the corona wards.
  • As healthcare services collapse, the lockdown is expected to continue for at least another week but Israel should begin to see a drop in the infection rate within the next few days.  The vaccination campaign and a reduction in the infection rate will count favorably towards shortening the lockdown.  On the other hand there is serious concern about the numbers infected with the new UK coronavirus variant and the number of hospitalized patients and this could count toward extending the lockdown.
  • From today, the 45+ age group will be able to get vaccinated.  It is expected that vaccination of 40’s+ will commence at the end of this week.
  • Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has called on prison officials to refrain from vaccinating detainees against COVID-19 until further notice.  Prison services are disregarding this directive.  The Israel Supreme Court is considering the legality of Ohana’s instructions.
  • To enable essential workers to get to their places of employment, the police are reducing the number of roadblocks that were set up for the weekend, from this morning. No serious public gathering violations were recorded over the weekend.
  • Sabbath end saw thousands of anit-Netnyahu demonstrators in Jerusalem and across the entire country.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 543,499  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 83,611 active cases
    • 8,398 newly diagnosed cases diagnosed yesterday
    • 101,722 tests performed Saturday with an 8.5% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 8,295
    • 1,184 in serious condition of which 274 are reported to be intubated
    • 23 deaths recorded yesterday – death toll: 3,959.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 23
    • 59,091 cases per million population
    • Total vaccinations administered: first dose – 2,046,729 and second dose 224,970

15 January – 6:26am

  • After being in lockdown for one week, there is no decrease in the infection rate,  Tightening and extending the lockdown is a lot more than a probability. Restrictions will be extended this weekend as road blocks are being set up countrywide. It is reported that 25 road blocks will be set up today on main inter-city roads and another 300 inner city road blocks.  The road blocks will only be lifted on Sunday morning at 6am.
  • This lockdown; 455 fines have been issued to people who are corona positive that have defied their isolation orders including fines to people that are not corona positive but who should be in isolation. This number is double than that of the last lockdown.  Most of them will face criminal investigation.
  • The vaccination campaign continues in earnest and the next group in line, as of next week, is the 40-something age group.  It is likely that grade 11 and grade 12 pupils will also be vaccinated prior to the start of the bagrut matriculation exams.
  • While there is serious talk about extending the lockdown, the Ministry of Finance and business owners are demanding a re-opening of the marketplace in approximately 10 days.  At the same time, the Ministry of Health is considering reducing the numbers of essential workers permitted in the workplace.
  • Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu announces a financial aid package for members of the entertainment industry who have been without income since the earliest days of the pandemic.  The aid package is around 70 million shekels.
  • Another mutated variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in Japan after 4 locals returned from a vacation in Brazil. We have a UK variant, a South African variant and now a Brazilian variant. It is not yet known whether the Brazilian variant is more infectious or dangerous than any of the others.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 529,184  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 78,636 active cases
    • 9,420 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 121,669 tests performed yesterday with a 7.9% average positivity rate
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 8,395
    • 1,088 in serious condition of which 247 are reported to be intubated
    • 63 recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,870.  The one-month moving average of daily deaths is 27
    • 57,604 cases per million population
    • Total vaccinations administered (first dose only) – 1,991,749

14 January – 6:53am

  • A slow down in the number of vaccinations given this week – only 100,000 new vaccinations given. The Health Funds have almost stopped giving the first vaccination.
  • Dr. Sharon Elroy-Preis: The number of new vaccinations is low as a result of the fact that some are already getting the second dose of their vaccine. I am sure we will see a jump to 150,000 – 200,000 very shortly.
  • The planned exit strategy (no date has been given)
    • Stage 1: Kindergartens, grades 1-4, grades 11 -12 and street shops
    • Stage 2: Grades 5-10 and the ‘green passport’
    • Stage 3: Restaurants and coffee shops
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 520,060  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 78,221 active cases
    • 9,226 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 128,715 tests performed yesterday with a 7.3% average positivity rate
    • 1,054 in serious condition of which 258 are reported to be intubated
    • 24 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,81’7 (one month daily average death rate – 26)
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 8,088
    • 56,543 cases per million population

13 January – 7:19am

  • In spite of the lockdown, the MOH is concerned by the significant rise in the number of newly infected.  It is reported that one in four (25%) of those that are seriously ill in hospitals had received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The experts opinion is that these patients were most likely already mildly infected before receiving the vaccination.
  • According to today’s statistics one in every three corona patients diagnosed yesterday, is from the Haredi ultra-orthodox community
  • The corona cabinet will not hesitate to tighten the lockdown if necessary.  Head of Health Services: “We are not optimistic about exiting the lockdown in 10 days time”.
  • Today, the 4 health funds continue to vaccinate teachers and insured members in the 55+ age group.
  • The health funds – the Pfizer vaccine reduces the risk of infection by tens of percent’s.
  • Until receiving the second dose of the vaccine, one is still at risk of infection.  If a vaccinated person does come into contact with a symptomatic corona patient, the chances of the vaccinated person getting the illness, is far less.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 510,063  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 76,131 active cases
    • 9,665 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 129,983 tests performed yesterday with a 7.6% average positivity rate
    • 1,063 in serious condition of which 269 are reported to be intubated
    • 27 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,771
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,703
    • 54,456 cases per million population

12 January – 7:31am

  • As the number of infected rises in Israel, the country has now recorded over 1/2 million cases of the coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic – 504,269 cases to be exact.
  • Good news for 55+ – you are now able to get vaccinated and it is estimated that within 2 to 3 weeks 40+ will be able to get their vaccines.
  • Just announced, the Moderna vaccine will be effective for one year against Covid-19 and the new variants.
  • Israel’s ‘green passport’  scheme is underway.  The ‘green passport’ will allow those who have recovered from the Coronavirus, those who have been vaccinated and those who can present a negative test result, certain privileges, like attending a concert.  The ‘green passport’ will be introduced gradually according to the vaccination rate.  The passport will be valid for 6 months.  Under this scheme the entertainment industry, which has been shut down for many, many months, will be given first priority to re-open.
  • A pilot study has been approved – to allow members of the public to attend a sporting event.  One third of the regular spectator capacity will be allowed to watch the game live.  They will have to have face-masks on throughout the duration of the game.  Further details not yet available.
  • An idea has been proposed that Israel undertake to vaccinate all holocaust survivors and not just those in Israel. Israel Hayom reports.
  • A Chinese study reports that the majority of coronavirus patients suffer at least one side-effects for up to 6 months after recovery.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 504,269  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 74,639 active cases
    • 9,589 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 129,449 tests performed yesterday with a 7.6% average positivity rate
    • 1,027 in serious condition of which 247 are reported to be intubated
    • 19 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,705
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,557
    • 54,479 cases per million population

11 January – 7:01am

  • One fifth of Israel’s population has been vaccinated (with the first vaccine) against the coronavirus.  Israel continues to lead the world in coronavirus vaccines administered per capita.
  • Teachers will be vaccinated this week, commencing Wednesday for 3 days.  The first will be those educators who need to work during lockdown.  They will be followed by teachers and kindergarten teachers.
  • Once teachers are vaccinated, vaccination will open up to the 55+ age group.
  • A record number of seriously ill and corona wards in all of Israel’s hospitals are full to capacity – the numbers are very worrying.
  • It is estimated that 30% of corona patients in Israel, are infected with the British variant.
  • Pfizer will continue to supply Israel with vaccines until March.  In the agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the CEO of Pfizer, it has transpired that Israel has agreed to be a ‘guinea pig’ country for the company. Consequently, Israel is expected to get most of its vaccinations from Pfizer.
  • Yuli Edelstein – Minister of Health said that the data being collected will be very helpful to Pfizer – Israel is doing incredible work with the vaccine
  • So far, this lockdown had resulted in another 20,000 people added to the list of unemployed.  Some 200,000 citizens have lost their jobs in the last 4 months.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 491,319  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 67,741 active cases
    • 5,138 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 83,681 tests performed yesterday with a 6.3% average positivity rate
    • 1,033 in serious condition of which 244 are reported to be intubated
    • 22 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,671
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,493
    • 53,418 cases per million population

10 January – 6:15am

  • Industries operating under lockdown.  A final outline:
    • Food and pharma: production, warehousing, delivery and sales
    • Finance: Banks, stock-exchange, insurance companies
    • Government services, municipal services and religious services on emergency, skeleton staff.
    • Transport and communication; taxi services, car hire, newspapers
    • Security services and giant international corporations
    • Social services: disabled, youth-at-risk, holocaust survivors
    • Home maintenance and services: electricians, plumbers, house-helpers, baby-sitters
    • Lawyers and accounting offices: emergency cases only
  • In order to prevent early morning congestion on Israel’s roads, roadblocks will only be opened at 9am.
  • A wave of newly unemployed expected today
  • A large shipment of the Pfizer vaccine is expected in Israel this week and happily on Wednesday and Thursday, teachers will be vaccinated.
  • The 28th week of anti-Netanyahu demonstrations  thousands demonstrate outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem and other locations across the country, last night.
  • Two-day weekend stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 485,434  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 69,493 active cases
    • 12,154 newly diagnosed cases Friday and Saturday
    • 188,223 tests performed Friday & Saturday with a 6.3% average positivity rate
    • 975 in serious condition of which 236 are reported to be intubated
    • 60 deaths recorded over the weekend – total death toll: 3,645
    • 7 day moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 7,234
    • 52,778 cases per million population

8 January – 7:34am

  • Israel’s 3rd hermetic lockdown is now in place and members of the police force are checking commuters at road blocks across the country. A 1,000m limitation of movement is in place unless you need to leave your home for the possible essentials as laid out in the guidelines; vaccination, medial or social care, food, pharma, individual sporting activity, for legal proceedings or attending a protest etc.
  • Synagogues are open with a maximum of 5 worshipers inside and 10 outside.
  • A major shipment of the Pfizer vaccine is expected in Israel next week.  [Could Israel be the first country to beat the coronavirus crisis?]
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 471,048  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 64,583 active cases
    • 7,597 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 12,848 tests performed yesterday with a 6.2% average positivity rate
    • 873 in serious condition of which 210 are reported to be intubated
    • 21 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,566
    • 51,214 cases per million population
    • Seven day, moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 6,826

7 January – 7:10am

  • Seger, seger – Lockdown 3 part B!!  As daily infections and the death rate continues to rise, Israel prepares itself to enter a another lockdown at midnight tonight – this time a strict and hermetic one with 5,000 members of Israel’s police force enforcing regulations.
  • The main regulations for this lockdown:
    • Complete shutdown of the education system – except for special ed.
    • No gathering at other people’s homes and no visiting the elderly
    • All workplaces are shuttered except for essential services(food, pharma, factories for essentials only, construction, maintenance, deliveries and law firms)
    • Gatherings: 5 people in a closed area – 10 people in an open area except weddings and funerals where the allowed number is double – 10 and 20
    • A 1,000m limitation on movement except under these circumstances
      • Getting vaccinated
      • Receiving medical or social care
      • Attending a protest
      • Legal proceedings
      • Approved sporting activity (on one’s own, within walking distance from home)
      • Transferring a minor between parents
      • Going to work if you are an essential worker
      • Attending a funeral or wedding according to guideline
    • Bed & breakfasts, zoos, nature reserves and national parks, complementary medicines, beauty and hair salons – closed.
    • Restaurant delivery only.
    • Public transport- occupancy cut by 50%
    • Ben-Gurion Airport to be shutdown except for emergencies and those who already have a ticket in their possession.  All entering Israel from red countries, will be required to isolate in a corona hotel.
  • Head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis “We will make sure that this lockdown is effective, hermetic and real, without loopholes. The results of this lockdown and the vaccination campaign will be seen in the next two weeks.  I hope that we will not need to extend the lockdown but I believe that two weeks will not be sufficient.”
  • 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are to arrive in Israel today at 3pm.
  • A real fear that the vaccines will not be effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus (The SARS-COV-2 Virus – currently termed 501.V2 Variant). Dr. Alroy-Preis “The South African strain is troubling because it might lead to higher rates of infection amongst the younger populations”.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 463,448  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 61,551 active cases
    • 7,820 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 129,711 tests performed yesterday with a 6.2% average positivity rate
    • 873 in serious condition of which 210 are reported to be intubated
    • 24 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,529
    • 50,388 cases per million population
    • Seven day, moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 6,695

6 January – 6:00am

It’s final – lockdown commences Thursday at midnight for two weeks.  “Israel is in a state of emergency” – Benjamin Netanyahu

  • The full and final list of restrictions will be brought before the government today and a list of essential services will be decided upon.  In the meantime, as previously reported; the entire education system will shutter except for special ed and at-risk youth, gatherings will be halved and all businesses except essentials will be closed.
  • Travel abroad will be allowed only for essential purposes. People who purchased tickets before the lockdown will still be able to get out of the country, but no new tickets will be honored
  • Movement will be limited to 1,000m from home but individual sporting activities will still be allowed.
  • The medical experts at yesterday’s meeting painted a grim picture of what could be in stall for Israel if action was not taken immediately.
  • Yoav Gallant – Minister of Education – who had been hoping to keep part of the education system operating, finally conceded and said that he would agree to “harness the entire education system for the national need of curbing the spread of the pandemic.” He wants the lockdown be used to vaccinate educational staff.
  • 1.5 million Israelis have been vaccinated and there is only sufficient vaccine left for the 2nd dose to be administered to those that already received the first.  Another shipment of the vaccine is expected within a couple of weeks.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 456,139  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 58,932 active cases
    • 8,371 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 14,814 tests performed yesterday with a 7.4% average positivity rate
    • 843 in serious condition of which 211 are reported to be intubated
    • 13 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,496
    • 4,953 cases per million population
    • Seven day, moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 6,249

5 January – 17:32pm

Third lockdown on Friday – 99.9% and the restrictions will include (as per N12)

  • Complete shutdown of education except for special ed.
  • Workplace: essential workers only
  • Movement: only for essentials – food and pharma (no travelling between cities)
  • The 1,000m restriction is likely to be left in place.
  • Gatherings: 5 people in a closed area and 10 in an open area
  • No visiting another’s home
  • A 50% reduction of the bus service
  • No take-aways

6:27am

  • As supplies of the Pfizer vaccine in Israel run low, Moderna have announced that will be bringing forward their first shipment of vaccines to Israel.  Israel has 6 million doses of their vaccine (enough for 3 million people) on order and delivery of the first batch can be expected later this month.  Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is also a ‘two-injections’ vaccine.  It is expected that the second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Israel in February.
  • KAN reports that Yuli Edelstein – Minister of Health is to have said “If we don’t take the harshest steps possible, by March or April we will be like Italy was in the first month of the pandemic,”
  • The corona cabinet is finally set to meet today at 12pm to discuss the possibility of tightening the current lockdown. Thew new lockdown could bring the following restrictions:
Current Lockdown Full Lockdown
Education Almost fully operational Shuttered completely
Marketplace Officially closed Completely shut down except deliveries
Workplace 50% of non-essential workers Only essential services
Movement Up to 1,000m Possibly up to 500m
  • Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz who is said to be opposing the idea of a full lockdown is now saying that he will agree to it under certain circumstances which would include vaccinating teachers and finding a way to keep schools open and give pupils more school days.
  • Although young children are often asymptomatic or generally have very mild symptoms, “they infect each other and their families” said Prof. Nachman Ash – the corona commissioner.  Over 12,000 pupils are currently infected with the coronavirus which is approximately 25 percent of the total number of currently infected in Israel.
  • Yoav Galant – Minister of Education is reported to have said, on an interview on Channel 13 last night, that pupils are being used as ‘reverse babysitters’ for their parents and keeping schools closed is a way of making sure that parents cannot get to work (thereby indirectly shuttering some of the workplace)
  • The Director of the MOH is reported to have said that the politicians have tied the MOH’s hands .
  • Beilinson hospital can no longer accept any more patients in their E.R.
  • Threats are also being made to halt the supply of vaccines to Ichilov hospital after it became apparent that they were vaccinating teachers (who are not yet in line). Prof. Ronni Gamzu (ex-corona commissioner) cannot understand why the police force are in line to get vaccinated before teachers.
  • On the international front Britain goes into a full lockdown as the mutated virus spreads significantly. This time they have shuttered schools as well.

4 January – 7:22am

  • The British mutated coronavirus gains foothold in Israel and in the town of Efrat.  All schools in the settlement to be closed.
  • Currently there are thousands of teachers and pupils in isolation. The current directive –  If more than 3 pupils are corona-positive in a school, the school must shutter.
  • Still no clear decision regarding upgrading the lockdown – the Ministry of Health and government officials do not see eye-to-eye
  • Prof. Nachman Ash – Corona Commissioner is in favor of a lockdown within the next day or two – he sees no reason to wait for Sunday. He is also in favor of shuttering the entire education system.  He went on to say that the sooner we lockdown, the shorter the lockdown will be, and in order to do so, we have to shut everything down.
  • The corona cabinet are expected make an announcement regarding a full lockdown within the next days
  • Shopping malls, restaurant owners and fashion threaten: Shut everything down or we will open up.
  • Some Arab villages like Madj el Shams, Massade, Gush Halav, Majd El Krum have infections rates of around 9% (currently the national average is 6.6%).  Residents of Arab villages, across Israel, are reportedly making appointments to get their vaccine however some 40% never show-up.
  • Yesterday’s stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 441,542  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 49,643 active cases
    • 5,135 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 79,395 tests performed yesterday with a 6.6% average positivity rate
    • 731 in serious condition of which 201 are reported to be intubated
    • 24 deaths recorded yesterday – total death toll: 3,416
    • 47,716 cases per million population
    • Seven day, moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 5,343

3 January – 6.34am

  • The positivity rate begins to soar again – reaching over 6% yesterday and now the Minister of Health – Yuli Edelstein is requesting a full and hermetic lockdown for a period of two weeks. He would like further restrictions to be placed on the education system as well as on the marketplace. He said that if Israel does not act swiftly we will see a catastrophe like in Britain.  He went on to say that we have to curb the spread of the mutated virus,  He estimates that Israel is likely to see more than 9,000 daily infections (the number we saw in the previous lockdown) within 2 weeks if we do not move quickly.
  • PM Bibi Netanyahu also calls for tightening restrictions yet, in spite of the dramatic increase in the number of infected, a meeting of the corona cabinet has not yet been scheduled to discuss the current situation.
  • Furthering the lockdown is fast becoming an election tool with the Netanyahu camp accusing the Gantz camp of hampering additional restrictions from being put in place.
  • Officials in the Ministry of Education are of the opinion that shuttering schools is a tactic which forces parents to remain at home thereby indirectly shuttering the marketplace. If schools are shuttered it also justifies the much talked-about delay in vaccinating teaching staff.
  • With over 1 million citizens already vaccinated, Israel will see a slow down in the vaccination program as stocks of the vaccine are running low.  All those who have already received the first dose of the vaccine, are assured that their second dose will be administered as scheduled however it is expected that the Health Funds will not be vaccinating new patients next week..  Sheba Medical Center will be slowing their vaccination program down and no longer be vaccinating 24/7.  Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, is expected to cease vaccinating in the coming week.
  • Another shipment of the covid-19 vaccine is expected in Israel in February and the country is doing its utmost to get the delivery date moved up as soon as possible.
  • The Ministry of Education maintains that the Ministry of Health is micro-managing the crisis and “handling it like they would an emergency-room and not like a country.”
  •  Demonstrations in 2 locations in Jerusalem on Saturday night; 20 people are arrested at the “Ahuvia Sandak Demonstration” and 10 are arrested at the anti-Netanyahu demonstrations.
  • Two-day weekend stats –  Worldometer & Israel MOH
    • 434,799  total cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic
    • 49,506 active cases
    • 6,004 newly diagnosed cases yesterday
    • 156,405 tests performed Friday & Saturday with a 5.7% average positivity rate
    • 749 in serious condition of which 188 are reported to be intubated
    • 67 deaths recorded over the weekend – total death toll: 3,392
    • 47,273 cases per million population
    • Seven day, moving average of newly diagnosed cases – 5,162
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