As Lockdown Eases, Infection Rate Rises

A medical worker wears protective clothing as he tests Israeli teachers for COVID-19 (coronavirus), ahead of the reopening of some classes, in Tel Aviv, Friday. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

As Israel gradually moves out of its second coronavirus lockdown, the Health Ministry reported Monday an increase in positive coronavirus tests, after the past few weeks saw a downward trend.

According to data released by the Health Ministry on Monday, 3.1% of tests on Sunday came back positive, compared to 2.9% of tests returned on Shabbos, 2.1% of tests from Friday, and 1.8% from Thursday’s tests.

Despite the increased percentage of tests coming back positive, the number of active known cases of the virus continues to decline, as do the number of hospitalized patients and patients in serious condition.

On Sunday, schools opened for grades one to four and some businesses were also allowed to reopen, though high street shops remain shuttered.

649 new cases of the virus were diagnosed Sunday, with new recoveries outpacing new cases by nearly double, with 1,331 recoveries.

There are now 9,800 active cases of the virus.

Israel’s death toll currently stands at 2,554, with six fatalities reported Sunday.

The number of patients in serious condition has fallen to 372. There are 170 patients on respirators.

The Coronavirus Cabinet was due to meet Monday afternoon to discuss further steps to ease the lockdown.

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