For the First Time in Over a Month, Over 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases

YERUSHALAYIM -
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. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel registered 1,069 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the Health Ministry said Thursday morning, marking the first time in more than a month that the figure climbed over the 1,000 mark.

With 60,463 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, the positive test ratio stood at 1.8%.

There are currently 9,422 current active cases, including 282 patients who are hospitalized in serious condition, as well as 122 who are on ventilators.

According to the Health Ministry, a large number of the new infections were registered in the Israeli Arab communities, almost five times more per capita than the new cases in the general public.

On average, the general sector has a total of 3.3 verified new cases per week per 10,000 people, compared with 15.5 in the Arab sector.

The fresh figures come as Israel continues to emerge from the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the disease.

On Wednesday, the Coronavirus Cabinet approved a pilot plan to reopen 15 malls, as well as street markets and some museums, starting Friday.

To effectively examine compliance with the coronavirus guidelines, the pilot will be conducted in a limited number of 15 malls in total, six of which belong to the two largest groups. The other nine will be determined by a lottery.

The Cabinet also voted to reopen open-air markets in a limited fashion.

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed the Cabinet’s decision, saying “this is another important step in opening the commerce after the opening of street shops and small businesses.”

Economy Minister Amir Peretz noted that opening the malls will bring tens of thousands of workers back to work and lead to renewed economic growth.