Israel: Virus Death Toll Rises to 208, But Sharp Drop in New Infections

Israeli police and soldiers guard at a roadblock at the entrance to a neighborhood in Beit Shemesh on Sunday. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Four Israelis succumbed to the coronavirus late Monday and early Tuesday, bringing the nation’s death toll to 208, the Health Ministry reported, as the country prepared for a partial re-opening of schools and more businesses in the next few days.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel rose to 15,589, meaning 123 new cases over the previous 24 hours – nearly double the 68 new cases seen in the 24 hours before that. However, this was a steep drop from last week’s figures, in which more than 200 new cases were confirmed daily.

At present, 117 people are hospitalized in serious condition, 94 are on ventilators, numbers that have also steadily declined in recent days, the Health Ministry reported, adding that to date, 7,375 people have recovered.

The government has begun easing the sweeping restrictions aimed at curbing spread of the virus. Many stores and businesses were allowed to resume operations Sunday, with permission predicated on observing hygiene regulations. Police have been enforcing this observance, issuing fines to those who fail to comply, and to pedestrians not wearing masks.

Restaurants and food shops were allowed to sell products for take-out, not just home deliveries, as long as a physical barrier was placed between the cashier and the customers.

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