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A medical staff member speaks to a patient with Covid-19 in Bailinson Hospital in Israel Alamy Stock Photo
covid surge

Israel records highest daily Covid-19 cases as schools prepare to reopen

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has said 70% of adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated.

ISRAEL HAS RECORDED its highly daily coronavirus case tally of nearly 11,000 new infections, amid a surge caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant as schools prepare to re-open.

The previous high came on 18 January, with 10,118 cases.

Despite today’s 10,947 confirmed cases, Israel is pressing ahead with plans to fully open its school system tomorrow as it tries to boost vaccination rates.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a critic of the cycle of lockdowns implemented by his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, has maintained that the surge can be controlled through inoculation and protective measures such as masks.

His government has encouraged all residents aged 12 and above to get a third get jab of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.

About 60% of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have received two shots of the vaccine, including 80% of adults.

Israel was in December one of the first countries to launch a national vaccination campaign, which brought daily infections down to a trickle and allowed the lifting in June of nearly all pandemic restrictions.

Several measures have since been reimposed, including in-door mask wearing, limits on gatherings and the need to present proof of vaccination for entry to certain facilities.

Bennett has said that the rollout of the booster shot programme was showing results, notably by restricting the rise in the of hospitalisations.

EU vaccination rates

Meanwhile, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has said 70% of adults in the European Union are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, hitting an end-of-summer target the bloc set for itself in January.

“Today we reached an important milestone in our vaccination campaign. Seventy percent of adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated and that means 250 million people are fully immunised,” Von der Leyen said in a video posted online.

Von der Leyen heads the European Commission, which is responsible for ordering vaccines for the EU’s 27 member states, and had already announced in July that 70% of the adult population of the EU had received at least one dose.

The global fight against the coronavirus pandemic is now dominated by the battle against the Delta variant, a more contagious version of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The World Health Organization fears that the pandemic could kill an additional 236,000 people in Europe by 1 December and has expressed concern about the stagnating pace of vaccinations on the continent.

Brussels has stressed the need for the EU to reduce the “worrying gap” in vaccination rates between member states and urged national authorities to be ready for the injection of a new dose to boost immunity if scientific data confirm the need for it.

The rate of fully vaccinated adults is about 20% in Bulgaria, 32.8% in Romania, 49% in Slovakia and 58.1% in Poland.

The level is 72.5% in France, 70.6% in Germany, 76.7% in Spain, and 85.5% in Ireland, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

© – AFP 2021 

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