Israel is in the “eye of the hurricane” due to the spread of the omicron variant, its prime minister, Naftali Benet, warned today, assuring that there are hospitals that are reaching the limit of their capacities due to the increase in those admitted in serious condition due to coronavirus.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, the number of hospitalized in critical condition, which stands at about 436 patients, has increased progressively in recent days, as infections increase due to the rapid expansion of omicron.
Health services are not collapsed, and are still far from the maximum of 1,200 admitted in previous waves of the pandemic, but Benet warned that the increase in morbidity could force some medical centers to reject patients due to their oversaturation.
According to the local newspaper Haaretz, several Israeli hospitals plan to reduce some of their non-urgent services to prioritize care for those infected with COVID-19, to which are added flu patients.
In turn, many centers are working with fewer employees as more than 7,700 health personnel have been forced to isolate themselves in the face of growing infections. Of these, a thousand of them are doctors and almost 2,200 nurses.
The high morbidity rates also affect the country’s educational system, which continues to function normally, despite the fact that the number of students in isolation exceeds 100,000 – a figure much higher than in previous waves – and there are schools where more than half of his students are in isolation.
Given the situation, some educational centers decided to move to virtual classes, although they are not formally obliged to do so.
In a matter of a week, Israel registered more than 282,000 new cases, and currently has more than 259,000 infected, illustrating the rapid spread of omicron.
For now, no severe restrictions have been implemented in the country, although the authorities have not yet ruled out a general closure due to the growing pressure on the health system.
All this occurs while Israel continues to administer the fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine to its population over 60 years of age, in part to reduce the infection rate, something that it already achieved with the application of the third booster injection last summer.
More than 530,000 people have been vaccinated with the fourth dose since the inoculation campaign began on January 2.
Israel, with a population of some 9.4 million inhabitants, has registered more than 1.7 million infections since the start of the pandemic and 8,319 deaths from coronavirus.