First Time in Two Months: Under 2,000 Active Virus Cases in Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
A staff member prepares for the reopening of the Herbert Samuel hotel in Tel Aviv, on Tuesday. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In numbers not seen since March 24, Israel is back under the 2,000 active coronavirus cases, with 1,997 cases still active as of Wednesday morning.

According to Health Ministry figures, there were 14 new infections confirmed overnight, bringing the total number of virus cases since the start of the pandemic to 16,771.

Thirty-nine patients were in serious condition, 36 of whom were on respirators, a slight increase over the day before.

The death toll remained at 281 after two new fatalities were reported Monday, the first deaths in five days.

The number of new cases was higher than in recent days, though it was unclear if that was linked to a rise in testing.

Recent weeks have seen a sharp drop-off in the number of new virus cases, with the country lifting restrictions on movement, businesses and educational institutions.

Restaurants, hotels and swimming pools reopened on Wednesday, under restrictions.

Renewed operations are subject to strict observance of social distancing, wearing face masks, observance of the rules of hygiene, the marking of places for standing in line, regulating the numbers of customers, and subject to the detailed Purple Badge standard instructions.

Anyone not operating in compliance with the rules may face a NIS 2,000 fine.

The Health Ministry reiterated that “adhering to the instructions and directives regarding physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining the rules of hygiene are important and vital in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Israel.”

However, in a possibly worrying sign, a number of teachers and staff have tested positive for the virus since schools fully reopened earlier this month following an extended closure, sending dozens of students across the country into quarantine.