/Only 13 new COVID cases diagnosed in 24-hours, lowest in 14 months – The Times of Israel

Only 13 new COVID cases diagnosed in 24-hours, lowest in 14 months – The Times of Israel

As Israel continues its world-leading vaccination campaign, just 13 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the country on Saturday, the lowest rate in 14 months, according to Health Ministry data released Sunday.

According to the ministry, a total of 9,238 coronavirus tests were conducted Saturday, with 0.1 percent returning positive. While weekend numbers are generally significantly lower due to reduced testing, the new figures still represent a relative drop, with last weekend’s positivity rate at 0.5%.

Of the 1,310 active cases in the country, there were 100 serious cases, including 60 people on ventilators, the Health Ministry data showed. The death toll stands at 6,366.

As infections have dwindled, Israel has rolled back restrictions on public life, including lifting the requirement to wear face masks outdoors, which ended last month.

Ziv Hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, February 4, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

With its aggressive vaccination drive, Israel has seen a sharp drop in daily mortality and infection rates since the pandemic peaked in late January.

Late last month, the Jewish state passed the milestone of over 5 million people having received both vaccine shots.

According to the Health Ministry on Sunday, 5,049,828 second doses were now in Israeli arms, accounting for over 60% of the total population and more than 80% of the eligible population over the age of 16. A total of 5,401,155 people have received at least one shot.

Israel’s vaccination program, which is based on the Pfizer-BioNtech two-shot vaccine, has seen it maintain the highest per capita inoculation rate in the world since it began in late December.

The country is preparing to start vaccinating children aged 12-15 as soon as the US Food and Drug Administration approves vaccine use for children in that age bracket.

A health worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a vaccination center in Jerusalem, on March 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Earlier Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces declared itself coronavirus-free, as it recorded zero active cases of the disease among its ranks for the first time since the outbreak of the virus.

The military reported its first coronavirus case on March 2, 2020, when a soldier who worked part-time at a toy store tested positive for the disease. The number of conscripts, career officers, and civilian employees of the IDF diagnosed with the disease has risen and fallen in the interim 14 months, reaching a peak in February, with over 3,000 cases.

In March, the military declared that it had reached “herd immunity” from the disease as more than 80% of all servicemembers had been vaccinated or had recovered from the coronavirus.

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