1,689 New Coronavirus Cases; Infection Rate Falls

YERUSHALAYIM -
Technicians carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus in a lab at Leumit Health Care Services branch in Or Yehuda. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israel saw 1,689 new coronavirus patients on Wednesday, bringing the tally of confirmed patients since the start of the epidemic to 78,514, the Health Ministry said Thursday morning.

The Health Ministry said 345 patients are hospitalized in  serious condition, with 100 on ventilators.

The ministry added they conducted 25,457 coronavirus tests on Wednesday, putting the contagion rate at 6.6%.

The country’s death toll rose to 569.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Coronavirus Cabinet decided that weekend restrictions will be canceled and the skies will hopefully be able to open by August 16.

Coronavirus task force manager Prof. Ronni Gamzu said at the meeting that the morbidity situation was worrying and that the goal is to significantly lower infection by September 1.

“No country with as high a morbidity level as Israel has dealt with morbidity without a lockdown,” Gamzu said. “The government of Israel is sensitive to the delicate socio-economic situation and the hardships of the public. Therefore, it has placed its confidence in me for a path that does not include a full lockdown. It seems that this is the last opportunity for a moderate approach. Should the infection rate not decline within the next two weeks, we will have to consider restrictions including the possibility of a local or nationwide lockdown.”

The Cabinet also approved an increased intervention model in “red” cities that was proposed by Gamzu. Some 22 red and orange cities will face increased oversight, and families with a sick person will be assisted with being quarantined.

At the moment, the Cabinet decided not to place additional restrictions on these cities; however, there will be increased enforcement across the country to prevent gatherings.