Third Time in a Week: Israel Tops 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases

YERUSHALAYIM -
Health-care workers take test samples of a boy to check if he has been infected with the coronavirus, at a Clalilt Briut health center in Modiin Illit, on Tuesday. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The number of coronavirus cases in Israel continued to climb, with 1,319 new coronavirus infections reported on Tuesday, according to the daily update of the National Coronavirus Information and Knowledge Center on Wednesday morning.

This is both a new high in daily cases and the third time in the past week that the number of new cases was over 1,000.

There are now 14,104 active coronavirus cases.

The country’s death toll rose overnight to 343. There are now 107 patients listed in serious condition, according to the Health Ministry.

According to the data, which is provided by the Health Ministry, Israel conducted 25,570 tests on Tuesday, with a positive rate of 5.2%.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is expected to tighten the criteria to qualify for coronavirus testing after a massive uptick in cases has led to soaring numbers of people requesting a test.

Health-care providers have warned the ministry that they cannot cope with the astronomical numbers of tests for the virus, which last week reached a daily record of 24,000 as compared to just 1,000 tests conducted on May 30.

The more significant changes are likely to include reducing the authority of family physicians to refer patients for testing and a significant reduction in tests carried out in schools.

Another option being considered is to forgo tests for patients who may have recovered from the disease already and wait several weeks until all symptoms have completely disappeared.

Israel is fighting to contain the second wave of the pandemic, which health experts say was triggered by the speedy reopening of the economy several weeks ago.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Ministry said it is restricting the number of passengers permitted on public buses. Intercity buses will only be allowed to carry 30 passengers, urban buses will be able to hold 32 people and articulated buses (with two joined segments) can hold up to 50 passengers. Bus services will also stop at 10 p.m. every night and air conditioning on vehicles will run alongside open windows.

The chareidi city of Beitar Illit was to begin a week-long lockdown on Wednesday afternoon after the city witnessed a spike in cases, with 179 new diagnoses in a week and a positive test rate of 16%.

Other Israeli hot spots for the virus include Kiryat Malachi, Bnei Brak, Modiin Illit, Ra’anana, Kuseife, Kafr Qara, Yerushalayim, Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv.

There are currently 1,871 active cases of coronavirus in Yerushalayim, 1,217 in Tel Aviv and 1,037 in Bnei Brak.