COVID-19Yossi Aloni/Flash90

The Ministry of Health believes that millions of Israelis will be infected with COVID-19 in the coming weeks, Channel 12 News reported on Friday.

According to the report, health officials believe that one in three Israelis will be found to have been infected with the virus. It is estimated that next week there will be about 50,000 confirmed cases per day. The numbers are expected to reach a peak in about two weeks, with 200,000 confirmed cases per day, and the health establishment estimates that a total of 2-3 million Israelis will contract the virus in the coming weeks.

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, told Channel 12 News that "the pandemic surprised us time and time again, and today 12% of the morbidity is among people who have previously recovered from the virus, so it is impossible to know if it will be the end. We have a big wave of infections to deal with."

She clarified and stressed, "We do not have a mass infection policy. If that was the policy then there would be no antigen or institutional PCR tests."

Alroy-Preis stressed the importance of the fourth vaccine, especially among at-risk populations. "We recommend the fourth vaccine to people who are at risk, people aged 60 and up and health care workers who come in contact with many patients. This is because there is a decline in protection after the third booster."

Prof. Omer Merin, director of the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, warned on Friday that this month will be one of the most difficult, not only since the COVID-19 pandemic began but in Israel’s history, predicting emergency rooms will be overflowing with patients.

Merin told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper in an interview that hospitals are gearing up for a massive wave of patients from the Omicron variant.

“January is going to be one of the most difficult months ever in the entire history of the health care system. So I’m concerned,” he said.

“The thing that relaxes me a bit is the fact that the coronavirus isn’t new, and we know how to deal with it,” added Merin.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)