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“We can no longer avoid imposing additional restrictions,” said deputy Health Minister Yoav Kish on Wednesday morning, following the release of updated figures from the Health Ministry showing that 2,862 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

“We’re seeing a clear increase in morbidity,” Kish told Galei Tzahal, “a clear trend of rising infection. That means that we’re moving into a more controlled phase, as we previously warned – that once new cases reached 2,500 per day, we would reimpose restrictions that had been relaxed.”

Kish delineated some of the changes that are likely to take place: “Workplaces where customers are not received will be permitted to remain open, as will schools in all green and yellow neighborhoods. Until the vaccination program has an effect on the situation, renewed restrictions are unavoidable.”

83,227 coronavirus tests were administered in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 3.5%, also an increase over previous days and weeks. There are currently 381 people in serious condition with coronavirus-related complications in the country’s hospitals, and 138 people on ventilators. The death toll associated with coronavirus has risen to 3,022 people.

Meanwhile, it appears that the FDA will grant approval to an additional vaccine against Covid-19, this time the one developed by Moderna. Approval may be announced as early as this Friday.

The FDA has noted that trials indicate that Moderna’s vaccine can reduce the transmission rate by 66%, although the actual trial data have yet to be released to the public, and initial reports describing the efficacy of the vaccine (estimated at around 94.1%) stated that its effects on transmission were unknown, as is the case with Pfizer’s vaccine – the trials did not even attempt to investigate the vaccine’s effect on transmission.

In its assessment of Moderna’s vaccine, the U.S. Drug Administration (USDA) has found that the side effects are minimal, consisting mainly of fever accompanied by headache and/or fatigue, which, while unpleasant, are not dangerous.

Israel’s vaccination program is set to begin next week on December 23, with medical personnel in hospital settings beginning to vaccinate the public earlier, on Sunday.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Health Minister Edelstein have already announced that they will agree to be vaccinated before the camera, most probably this coming Saturday evening. Netanyahu will be the first world leader to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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