The first two weeks of Israel’s strict countrywide lockdown are beginning to take effect. The coronavirus R coefficient dropped on Wednesday below 1 to 0.99 for the first time, even in the hotbed ultra-religious and Arab communities. The hope now is that when the current closures finally end on Jan. 31, they will not be extended again. At the same time, 8,174 new infections were recorded on Wednesday and 9pc of all tests were positive. Hospital patients include 1,132 serious cases of whom 367 are in critical condition and 317 on ventilators. The number of mortalities now totals 4,181.
Vaccinations are conversely on the rise, with the rate up to 200,000 for the second day in a row. More than 700,000 have now received their second dose. A total of 2,230 million Israelis are now fully immunized.