The number of new coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to the highest level since the end of March, with the Health Ministry announcing 730 new cases reported within 24 hours on Tuesday.
Of the 55,000 people tested, 1.3 per cent returned a positive result.
The number of seriously sick patients remained stable at 45, however, and there were no new deaths reported.
Most of the new cases are associated with the Delta variant of the virus, according to official data.
This variant was first discovered in India and known to be highly transmissible.
Young people and those who already received both vaccine shots were among the newly infected. Immuno-compromised Israelis were now to receive a third vaccine dose.
Of the approximately 80 COVID-19 patients in Israeli hospitals, more than half are vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.
Researcher Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science tweeted that the rise in new infections was likely to lead to an increase both in those falling seriously ill and in deaths.
“However, the percentage of the infected who become seriously ill or die will be significantly lower, and we do not expect a return to the high number of seriously ill people seen at the peak of the pandemic,” he said.
Almost 62 per cent of Israel’s 9.3 million population have now received their first vaccine dose, and almost 56 per cent have received both.
The vaccination programme in Israel was initially very successful and won plaudits internationally.
After stalling at one point, it has recently got back on track due to the rise in virus cases. (dpa/NAN)