Israel reports highest daily COVID-19 cases in 3 months

Click to play video: 'Rapid rise of Delta and Delta Plus COVID-19 variant cases'
Rapid rise of Delta and Delta Plus COVID-19 variant cases
WATCH: Rapid rise of Delta and Delta Plus COVID-19 variant cases – Jun 25, 2021

Israel, a world leader in coronavirus vaccinations, reported its highest daily infection rate in three months as it scrambles to contain the spread of the new delta variant.

Authorities are racing to vaccinate children and are considering tighter travel restrictions at the country’s main airport.

Read more: Israel drops indoor mask rule as daily COVID-19 cases hover around zero

The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 307 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in nearly three months and a rise from 293 newly-diagnosed cases a day earlier. The health ministry reportedly expects those numbers to jump in coming days, raising concerns that Israel is plunging back toward a crisis.

In recent months, Israel has reopened businesses, schools and event venues, lifting nearly all restrictions after it inoculated some 85% of the adult population. It’s now seen as an early-warning system of sorts for other nations.

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Pfizer medical director says COVID-19 vaccine highly effective against Delta variant

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday announced a drive to inoculate thousands of children by mid-month.

Though worrying, the trend still shows little uptick when it comes to deaths from the virus. In the past two weeks, the ministry recorded only one. In Israel, 5.1 million people, among its population of 9.3 million, have received the required double dose of vaccinations. Another 400,000 have received at least one dose.

Read more: Who is Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first new prime minister in over 12 years?

Israel recorded its highest number of vaccinations of children this week and has re-imposed a rule requiring people to wear masks indoors. Bennett for the first time appointed a coronavirus commissioner to manage arrivals at the main gateway into Israel, Ben Gurion International Airport, which he called “a huge national vulnerability.”

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Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday said officials are prepared to close the airport if the trend worsens.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that officials are considering bringing back the “Green Pass” system that differentiates between vaccinated and non-vaccinated citizens in access to certain venues and activities.

Israel’s government last week postponed the planned reopening of the country to vaccinated tourists over concerns about the spread of the delta variant.

Israel was initially set to reopen its borders to vaccinated visitors on Thursday, after having largely closed the country during the pandemic. It had already started allowing groups of vaccinated tourists to enter in May.

But after a rise in infections over the past 10 days, the government pushed that date to Aug. 1.

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