1,608 New Coronavirus Cases Recorded Thursday in Israel

Clalit Health care workers take test samples of Israelis to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus in a testing center, in Modiin Illit in September. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said on Friday that 1,608 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Thursday.

Israel’s death toll rose to 2,128 since the start of the pandemic.

According to the ministry, positivity rates of the 37,487 tests conducted on Thursday have dropped to 4.2%.

There are currently 38,355 active cases of coronavirus, with 713 patients hospitalized in serious condition, of which 247 are connected to ventilators.

On Thursday, Israel became the 24th country in the world with more than 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases of COVID-19. Of all the 24 countries, Israel is the only one with fewer than 10 million inhabitants.

Also Thursday, the Coronavirus Cabinet voted to reopen small businesses that do not involve interaction with the public, kindergartens, take-away food services and beaches starting Sunday.

During the meeting, ministers also approved events with up to 10 people in confined space and up to 20 participants in an open area.

The ban on the public to leave home beyond one kilometer (0.6 mile) was also lifted.

Cities and neighborhoods classified as “red,” indicating high coronavirus infection rate, will remain in lockdown until the contagion rate in those areas is lowered.

The head of the chareidi desk at Israel’s program against coronavirus, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Roni Numa, called for yeshivos to reopen as soon as next week, following an agreement reached with chareidi leaders.

According to the outline each yeshivah will be divided into several separate capsules, and the bachurim will stay together in groups for almost two months, until Chanukah.

The bachurim will undergo coronavirus testing next Tuesday and those found negative for the virus will be allowed to join the yeshivos, which will most likely open on Wednesday or Thursday.