COVID testing
COVID testing Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Over Shabbat (Saturday), 9,726 new cases of COVID were recorded in Israel, out of a total of 41,053 tests conducted. As such, the positivity rate was 23.69 percent, and meanwhile, the rate of increase of the virus is now estimated at 1.35 (that is to say, for every 100 people infected with COVID, 135 people will be infected).

There are currently 296 people hospitalized in serious condition with COVID in Israel, including 117 who are intubated. The COVID death rate from the outbreak of the epidemic until now stands at 10,464 people.

Prof. Nachman Ash, a former COVID Czar and now the director-general of the Health Ministry, told Galei Tzahal that he is optimistic regarding the future course of the epidemic.

"I hope that we are seeing the virus die down," he said. "The rate of infection has dropped somewhat and the number of those in serious condition has not risen in recent days, indicating that this latest variant is of similar virulence to the previous Omicron strain. This is part of living alongside the virus," he added.

Asked whether Israel might even be soon seeing the last of the epidemic entirely, Prof. Ash responded, "Definitely. We're getting there. I think it's just a question of a few more months before things ease up. All the same, we must remember that the danger still exists, and a more dangerous mutation could still appear."

Ash added that, "There are barely any regulations left, barring face masks, and my estimate is that if contagion rates continue to decrease, we'll be able to get rid of the masks as well. However, for the time being it's still too early to take that step."