Israel’s COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 606; Hundreds in Serious Condition

YERUSHALAYIM -
Magen David Adom medical workers test Israelis at a drive-through site to collect samples for coronavirus testing in Lod, July 10. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said on Monday morning that the death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 606.

The ministry reported that there were 884 people diagnosed with coronavirus in the last day – 7.2% of those tested.

Of the 23,998 active patients, 397 are listed in serious condition and being treated in hospitals with 118 of them on ventilators.

On Monday, the local authorities formally took responsibility for the fight against coronavirus in the public sphere, vowing to work together but according to the needs of their own districts.

“Today we are taking the fight against coronavirus one step further,” said Chaim Bibas, chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities. Bibas was speaking at the Coronavirus Crisis Local Leadership Conference, which was attended by the prime minister, health minister, coronavirus commissioner and several other top officials. “Differentiated management is the key to success. There are no rules in one municipality that are identical to another.”

“I think the ‘traffic light’ model is correct,” said coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu, who recently gained approval for a framework that would put mayors in charge of working with the Home Front Command and Health Ministry to keep infection rates down in their areas.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the conference, “I am constantly dealing – apart from security – with two major tasks: maintaining health and life, and opening up the economy, providing incentives for the economy and getting the economy moving. The government needs to be stabilized to operate efficiently. When MK Hauser contacted me and said ‘Give [me] another opportunity to try [to] stabilize the political system so we will have a government that can continue to take action in the fight against corona’ – I said I was willing.

“We need to make every effort to avoid elections, stabilize the government and fight the coronavirus from a health standpoint, and fight to open up the economy. This is what we are doing. I also hope that we are doing this successfully.”

Addressing the mayors, the prime minister said that “I know that you are major partners in this. You have a very important role in this fight. The most important thing that you can do is to instill the coronavirus rules in your residents: Wear masks, maintain distance and avoid large gatherings.

“There is no alternative for your leadership and your enforcement, especially regarding businesses, so that we will be able to defeat this disease together.”