Israel Reports 427 Coronavirus Cases
The number of serious or critical cases has stayed at five as 90 more people were confirmed to have the virus overnight
The number of confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Israel has reached 427 as 90 more people were confirmed to have the virus overnight, the Israeli Ministry of Health reported Wednesday morning. The number of people in serious or critical condition has stayed stable at five, as did the number of people who recovered to date, 11. Fifteen of those infected are children, and over 10,000 children are currently in home-quarantine after having potentially been exposed to a carrier.
In a Wednesday evening press conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is upping the number of its daily tests to 3,000, and may even aim to reach 5,000. A testing drive-through tent has been set up in Tel Aviv. He further said that while Israel’s critical patient situation is currently good, the country is already preparing all hospitals for an influx of serious patients, and is looking to buy 1,000 more ventilators. Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov, director-general of the health ministry, said during the conference that Israel could see hundreds or perhaps even thousands of deaths eventually.
Corona paramedics. Photo: Shaul Golan
The number of medical personnel who have been infected or are currently in home-quarantine continues to rise. Two government ministers and two parliament) members are currently in quarantine after coming into contact with a person who was later confirmed to have the virus. Netanyahu has previously been tested and found negative.
On Tuesday, the health ministry announced a set of restrictions that effectively put the entire country into quarantine, barring certain exceptions such as essential employees. Though these are not set by law yet, the government has hinted that is liable to change depending on the continued spread of the virus. Those include avoiding parks, beaches, playgrounds, and nature reserves. The government is attempting to keep people at home, with the exception of taking children and pets on short excursions, or making quick grocery runs. Organized exercise activity is off the list, even in small groups, and people have been told not to have guests over. Other advice includes frequent hand washing, social distancing, and no smoking of cigarettes or e-cigarettes.
Those instructions have been added to the previous restrictions already announced, which have started tanking Israel’s economy. On top of reducing the number and frequency of bus and train lines, all public transportation will now stop between 8 p.m. and early morning, and over the weekend as of Thursday evening.
Government action has spilled into the private lives of citizens in many ways. To boost its virus containment efforts, the government bypassed the parliament and approved overnight between Monday and Tuesday new regulations, which allow it to use technological means and data from cellular communication companies to track virus carriers and people they have been in contact with, without a warrant. The government used its authority under Israel’s state of national emergency, put in place on the day of the country’s foundation in 1948 and never canceled. The new regulation has already met legal opposition in the form of a petition to Israel’s supreme court.