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Israel Update 5.8.21



 (Last week’s figures in brackets for comparison)



3,421 (2260) new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in Israel on Wednesday, marking the country’s third consecutive day with more than 3,000 confirmed cases. There are currently 460 COVID patients hospitalized with 241 (153) in serious condition, of whom 51 (28)  are connected to ventilators.

57% of serious cases are male and 43% are female, while 52.2% had underlying health conditions.

35% of those in hospital have been fully vaccinated. The vast majority of vaccinated patients currently hospitalized are those who were among the first to receive the vaccine in Israel, suggesting that its efficacy has waned in recent months. The majority of the younger patients currently hospitalized are unvaccinated. Read more here



The current surge in COVID cases has been attributed to a breach at Ben-Gurion Airport that allowed thousands to enter the country after travelling from abroad without undergoing any kind of COVID testing. It is believed that this led to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Read more here



Transcript of a CBS interview with Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel’s director of Public Health Services, explaining the decision to give booster shots to the over-60s: EXTRACT: what we have been seeing in the past several weeks is actually evidence that there is waning immunity. If we compare people …who were immunized early on, so were fully vaccinated by the end of January, we see an infection rate among them that is 90 per 100,000 which is double that of those who were fully vaccinated in March…And we see it for both elderly people over the age of 60, but also for younger ones. Read more here






Israel’s HMOs last Friday started administering a third COVID-19 vaccine shot to the over 60s. The third dose is unlikely to halt the rise in cases, but is expected to reduce the risk of serious COVID-19 illness among the elderly population. Read more here







The Israeli inventor of a “precision medicine” for COVID-19 is “very optimistic,” after an 88-person hospital trial entered its final day without a single patient ending up on a ventilator. Almost 90% of them were released from hospital within five days. The patients were given the inhaled drug EXO-CD24, developed at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Centre. Read more here






A “next-generation” COVID test made in Israel tells coronavirus-infected people how likely they are to deteriorate to serious illness. Patients who test positive give a drop of blood and receive their result on a 0-100 scale in 15 minutes. A “severe” prognosis enables doctors to take early action.The MeMed COVID-19 Severity test is approved for use in Europe and the UK. Read more here






Initial data from 200,000 inoculated Israeli children indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine has no major side effects, and almost no side effects in general. Health official had been most worried about myocarditis — an inflammation of the heart muscle — but only three such cases were observed among the 200,000 recipients of the vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15. Read more here




There have been over a million more coronavirus deaths around the world than shown by official statistics, according to a peer-reviewed Israeli study.  In Russia, there were 110,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths, but there were 500,000 excess deaths. In Belarus there were 390 virus deaths but 5,700 excess deaths, and in Nicaragua there were 140 virus deaths but 7,000 excess deaths. In many countries, numbers are impacted by a lack of testing capacity.  Read more here







Israel ranked second in the world after the US in coronavirus solution innovation, according to a new report. Israel was the source of 38 pandemic-related innovations on a list of more than 1,300 compiled by research centre StartupBlink. Read more here








A list of additional countries from which even vaccinated travellers must quarantine — including the United States and Greece — was approved by a Knesset committee on Tuesday, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.  42 countries are on the list of those from which returnees must quarantine for seven days with two negative PCR tests — or 14 days without. Read more here



There is still no plan to allow vaccinated tourists into Israel, PM Bennett said Thursday. Read more here






The “Rescuers Without Borders Israel” delegation recently returned from flood-stricken Germany and Belgium where they helped locate missing people. In one incident in Germany an Arabic-speaking Israeli team member took an injured Syrian woman to hospital because she only spoke Arabic. (TY Michael) Read more here







Iran is ten weeks away from acquiring enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb, Israel’s Defence Minister Gantz said on Wednesday. Read more here



Israeli PM Bennett on Sunday blamed Iran for a fatal drone attack last Thursday on the Japanese-owned, Israeli-operated oil tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman that killed two people, saying that Israeli intelligence had evidence linking Iran to the attack. The drone attack blasted a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge, killing the Romanian captain and a British security guard. Read more here



Israel is pushing for a UN Security Council condemnation of Iran for the attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker attacked off the coast of Oman by Iranian drones. A senior Israeli official said, “… Iran isn’t just Israel’s problem, it is a global problem, and its behaviour endangers free global shipping and trade.” Read more here



Iranians were reportedly involved in the attempted hijack of another ship on Tuesday. Read more here






Three rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Israel on Wednesday, with two landing in Israeli territory. In response, the Israel Air Force hit launch sites in south Lebanon early Thursday.Read more hereRead more here







Israel’s new Gulf Port of Haifa will begin operations on September 1 after 15 years of construction. The CEO of the Israel Ports Company said: “. It is the newest port in the world, with the latest in port technology,” Another new port in Ashdod is expected to be completed later this year. Read more here






Reda Masarwa, an Israeli Arab, has been appointed as a vice president of Intel Israel. Masarwa, a graduate of Ben-Gurion University, has worked for Intel for 24 years, managing the construction of Intel chip plants, heading a team of 150 Intel engineers, and supervising over 2,000 engineers from outside the company. Read more here





The Azrieli Group Ltd. has signed an exclusive agreement with the leading British fashion retailer AllSaints to operate their stores in Israel.  Read more here








An Israeli-made early cancer detection technology is helping to diagnose hundreds of women with early stages of cervical cancer in the Dominican Republic, potentially saving the lives of many of them. Israeli femtech firm MobileODT launched a large-scale nationwide campaign  to screen some 50,000 women using the company’s EVA Visual Check AI technology. The novel AI-based kit allows non-specialists to diagnose abnormal cervical findings in their early stages using an ordinary smartphone and match the patient with adequate preventive treatment.    Read more here







Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a deal worth 200 million euros ($237 million) to supply advanced radars to the German military. Four long-range radar systems will help modernize Germany’s airspace surveillance and ballistic missile defence capabilities and will contribute to NATO defence against long-range weapon threats. Read more here







Watched by a large crowd on the beach, a loggerhead sea turtle returned to the sea following 9 months of rehabilitation at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre where she was treated after fishermen found her with a hook lodged in her mouth that had caused her lungs to fill up with water. Read more here







Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won Israel’s second-ever Olympic gold medal Sunday in the artistic gymnastics floor exercise competition in Tokyo. Read more here



Israel’s mixed team in judo won a bronze medal. Read more here



The International Judo Federation praised a Saudi Olympian on Friday for agreeing to compete against an Israeli opponent. Saudi judoka Tahani Alqahtani shook hands with Israeli Raz Hershko on Friday before their match at the women’s judo competition in Tokyo which Hershko won.
Judokas from Sudan and Algeria had refused to face Israelis at the Olympics.Read more here



Israeli SkyStar 180 tactical surveillance balloons are in use by Tokyo Police to help secure the Olympic games. High-quality video is transmitted in real time to the Tokyo Police command centre. Read more here






French champions Lille beat Cup winners Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the Champions Trophy (Trophee des Champions) season curtain raiser at Bloomfield Stadium Tel Aviv on Sunday. Read more here








Rowan Polovin: Israel’s inclusion as an observer at the African Union is an important gesture. Israel has diplomatic relatiotns with 46 of the 54 sovereign countries in Africa, including the ground-breaking normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco in the past year. By opposing the move, South Africa is losing many opportunities to harness Israeli solutions for many of the problems our country faces today, including power generation, water and sanitation. Other African states are actively co-operating with Israel to bring these benefits to millions of poor citizens.
Israel has already installed solar generation in many African countries, including Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania, providing light to schools and enabling refrigeration of food and medicine. Israel’s drip irrigation technologies help African farmers increase crop yields. Israeli-designed water purification systems help make water drinkable. Read more here