Monday, March 8
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Coronavirus peak: 993 patients in serious condition on day 3 of closure – The Jerusalem Post

There are 1,029 people in serious condition from coronavirus in Israel’s hospitals, the Health Ministry reported Sunday morning – a peak since the start of the crisis in the country. 

The news comes on the first weekday of the third lockdown and as the health funds begin administering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, at least 100,000 more doses of the vaccine are expected to land in Israel at around 4 p.m. 

There were 5,047 people diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday – 6.3% of the 82,006 people who were screened. More than 60 people died over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 3,651.

In general, the hospitals are starting to become overcrowded with coronavirus patients. Rambam Medical Center in Haifa reported 106 people were hospitalized – a record number for the center. At the same time, Hadassah-University Medical Center reported 136 patients and said it was opening a new coronavirus unit.

Moreover, Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem reported 102 coronavirus patients, some 27 who were admitted on Friday and Saturday as a result of an outbreak in one of Jerusalem’s nursing homes. Some 40 people are in serious condition.

Senior officials in the Health Ministry are already saying it is likely that the lockdown will be extended past two weeks in light of the infection rate. The decision will need to be made based on the numbers and also how quickly the new shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrives and is distributed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that Israel will receive millions of vaccines over the next two months, enough to vaccinate anyone who wants to get the jab by the end of March.

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Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein received their second doses of the vaccine on Saturday night in a small ceremony at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. Others who received their first doses 21 days ago will be jabbed today. 

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash got his second dose. After the vaccination, he told KAN News that he is seeing an increase in people wanting to be vaccinated across sectors, including from within the Arab community, which had shown initial hesitancy. 

A Health Ministry report showed that around 42% of Arab citizens over the age of 60 and living in Arab-majority towns had been vaccinated.

“I’m excited today,” he said in a statement. “We are in the midst of a large and successful vaccination campaign and the start of the second dose. I am pleased with the public response, and call on the target populations to continue to be vaccinated. At the same time, I mention that all the regulations to ensure the health of us all still need to be maintained.”

So far,
more than 1.8 million Israelis have received their first dose of the vaccine, Edelstein reported early Sunday. More than 40,000 Israelis were inoculated on Saturday alone.

In total, 72% of people over the age of 60 are inoculated, the Health Ministry reported Sunday morning. Some 59% of the people vaccinated have been over 60. 

To help ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown, the Police have stepped up its presence across the country. Sunday will be the first real test of their ability to stop people from breaking the regulations and traveling more than 1,000 meters from home for forbidden purposes. 

However, police have said that they will try to make travel easier for essential workers and
remove some roadblocks on intercity roads during peak travel hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. During that time, the traffic division will deploy cops on motorcycles who will monitor travelers and pull over anyone who looks suspicious, such as cars carrying families with children. 

Recall that there is no school due to the lockdown, except for special education.

Police said that they gave out nearly 10,000 tickets to people violating the rules over the weekend. The majority – more than 7,000 – were administered for people leaving home.

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