Israel’s Infection Rate Remains Low as Country Inches Out of Lockdown

YERUSHALAYIM -
Police guard at a temporary checkpoint at the entrance to the neighborhood of Ma’alot Dafna in Yerushalayim, which is a “restricted zone,” in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel saw a 3.5% infection rate after 27,100 coronavirus tests were conducted Sunday, the Health Ministry said Monday morning, as the country emerged from a month-long lockdown.

According the ministry, only 892 people were confirmed with the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the number of infected patients to 29,617, with 619 people in serious condition including 212 patients on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,209 Israelis have succumbed to the disease.

Despite the reduction in cases, the Coronavirus Information and Knowledge Center, operated by IDF Military Intelligence under the auspices of the Health Ministry, warned that while the outbreak was being contained, infection rates were still high.

The center also said that hundreds of excess deaths have been identified since August in comparison to the same time frame during previous years.

It recommended that Israel’s lockdown exit plan be implemented more slowly than it currently is, calling for specific closures for virus hot spots and the shuttering of certain businesses and industries for a prolonged period, with appropriate compensation.

Israel began to emerge from a full lockdown on Sunday, with the education system and economy planning a return to operations in a more staggered manner than after the first closure in May, when the country returned to normal almost at once and infection rates soared.