Israel Posts Over 100 New COVID Cases for Third Day Running

Magen David Adom medical workers test Israelis at a site to collect samples for coronavirus testing in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel on Thursday posted over 100 new daily coronavirus cases, diagnosed a day earlier, for the third day in row.

The Health Ministry said 138 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday after 42,993 tests had been conducted, putting the contagion rate at 0.3%.

On Wednesday, health officials said if the average of 100 daily cases continues, the Health Ministry will bring back the mask mandate.

Meanwhile, Binyamina, one of the hot spots with a serious outbreak, became a “red” city on Thursday, with 122 active cases in the city.

Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut, another city hit by a coronavirus outbreak, was yellow as of Thursday morning, with 71 active cases in the city.

Of those infected in Israel, 26 were in serious condition and 18 were on ventilators. The death toll stood at 6,429.

In response to the new outbreak, police are significantly enhancing enforcement of quarantine restrictions, making many more checks on homes of those ordered to self-isolate, and also extending the contracts of staff who were taken on for a limited period in order to deal with coronavirus-related issues.

According to Yediot Acharonot, on Wednesday, 270 temporarily employed police officers had their contracts extended. They were first recruited a year ago, in order to assist with the government’s battle against COVID-19, and would have ended their term of employment around now if the government’s assessment of the situation had not changed.

The police have taken this unusual step due to their intention to enforce quarantine regulations far more tightly, as they apply to those who have come into contact with confirmed coronavirus carriers, and also, more specifically, to those who have recently returned from abroad. There are currently around 30,000 people who are legally required to be in isolation, of whom around 12,000 have recently returned to the country. Around half of all those required to be in quarantine are children.