COVID TRACKER: Israel begins to reopen on Sunday, positive rate at 3% with 313 cases Saturday

COVID TRACKER: Israel begins to reopen on Sunday, positive rate at 3% with 313 cases Saturday

Updated Oct. 18, 2020 at 10:12 p.m. Israel time

Health care doctors and medics take test samples of Jerusalemites to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus on October 08, 2020. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Health care doctors and medics take test samples of Jerusalemites to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus on October 08, 2020. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Updated Oct. 18, 2020 at 10:12 p.m. IL 

Israel started easing up on restrictions today allowing children to return to nursery school and kindergartens and businesses that do not receive the public to open. According to the Health Ministry, only 313 cases had been diagnosed on Saturday with a positivity rate of 3 percent. Shabbat is a low testing day, but in recent weeks some 9,000 Israelis tested positive in a single day so 313 is still rather low even for a Saturday.

Updated Oct. 16, 2020 at 2:25 p.m. IL 

New COVID cases continue to drop as 1,608 cases recorded yesterday, Thursday. In comparison, on last Thursday about 3,700 confirmed cases were reported and the Thursday before about 7,700.

Also on Thursday the government’s coronavirus cabinet voted to begin rolling back some of the severe restrictions put into place a month ago in order to control an out-of-control spread of COVID-19 here.

Since the beginning of the pandemic 301,289 Israelis have been infected, with 260,803 already recovery. This makes Israel the 24th country to pass 300,000 confirmed cases, but the only one in that group with a population under 10 million.

Updated Oct. 15, 2020 at 12:05 p.m. IL 

The Ministry of Health reported this morning that in the past day 2,004 new infections have been confirmed, an important marker for removing certain restrictions on the public.

The “corona” cabinet meets later today to discuss whether the lower infection rates justify opening pre-school and kindergartens next week, as well as lifting other aspects of the lockdown that has been in place for the past four weeks.

Updated Oct. 13, 2020 at 1:20 p.m. IL 

As of Tuesday morning, Israel had recorded 2,021 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.

However, the rate of infections has continued its downward trend and stood at 6.5 percent on Monday – the lowest it has been in weeks.

Israel has 51,250 active cases of coronavirus currently with 801 patients in serious condition including 242 on ventilators. The Health Ministry said that the cities with the highest number of active cases per 10,000 residents were all majority ultra-Orthodox: Modiin Illit, Tifrah, Rechasim, Bnei Brak and Elad.

Updated Oct. 11, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. IL 

The Health Ministry announced this morning that the number of daily coronavirus tests have plummeted to lowest level positive rate Israel has seen in months.

Only 887 infections were diagnosed on Saturday, but it was a holiday and testing tends to be lower anyway. The percentage though was down to 7.3 percent.

Updated Oct. 9, 2020 at 1:46 p.m. IL 

The Ministry of Health reported that the encouraging trend of lower positive rate of coronavirus tests continue, now standing at 8% of the almost 49,000 tests conducted yesterday.

Another interesting statistic noted by the Ministry of Health was that out of the 3,693 new cases yesterday 81% came from “red” cities, those designated with high infection rates.

Updated Oct. 8, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. IL 

The government expressing cautious optimism as the infectious rate continues to drop.

According to the Ministry of Health, 4117 new cases were recorded since yesterday, representing a positive rate of about 9%. In the recent weeks the positive rate had been has high as 15%, but finally results of the strict lockdown are been seen as this has been the third straight day Israel has seen the rate decrease.

Currently active COVID cases stand at 61,049. This represents a decrease of about 10,000 less than the peak registered less than a week ago.

13 COVID-related deaths have been recorded since midnight and the overall count has reached 1,846 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Updated Oct. 7, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. IL 

Since the government voted to impose on a severe three-week national lockdown, a slew of ministers and other national figures have violated the very rules they voted for.

Israelis and opposition leaders are calling for the dismissal of Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel prayed at a synagogue on Yom Kippur in Tiberias, violating a travel ban between cities. She was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, violated lockdown restrictions by having a hairdresser come to her Jerusalem residence, according to a report by Yediot Ahronot. Lockdown regulations, approved by her husband, forbid Israelis from entering other people’s homes and – in addition – hairdressers are not considered essential.

Then, Nadav Argaman, head of the Shin Bet internal security service which is tasked with the controversial cellphone tracking of citizens diagnosed with COVID-19, violated lockdown regulations by hosting family members for Sukkot that are not part of his nuclear family, KAN reported.

Ministers approved fines of $145 for anyone caught in another home or a sukkah not their own.

Knesset Member Mickey Levy announced he will resign from the Knesset’s Coronavirus Committee for apparently staying at his son’s house on the eve of Sukkot and meeting extended family on the holiday despite the general closure.

Updated Oct. 7, 2020 at 11:10 a.m. IL 

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported the infection rate was 10.5 percent, down from the previous day’s 11.4 percent. There were 4,674 new coronavirus cases discovered on Tuesday with some 855 people  in serious condition and 223 of them on ventilators. The death toll rose overnight to 1,803.

Updated Oct. 6, 2020 at 10:44 a.m. IL 

Updated numbers this morning from the Ministry of Health show 5,647 new coronavirus cases were discovered yesterday after 52,059 tests were conducted. That is an 11.4 percent ratio, a continued downward trend.

The death toll is 1,757 as of Tuesday morning. The number of patients in serious condition is 875, 220 of them on ventilators.

The number of tests conducted had decreased over the holiday weekend resulting in fewer infections, however the percent of those testing positive has held steady in the 11 to 12 percent range. Testing has gone up since Sunday resulting in a higher number of cases reported. Last week Israel set a record with 9,200 testing positive in one day.

Updated Oct. 5, 2020 at 10:43 a.m. IL 

The Ministry of Health reported that out of 26,332 tests on Monday some 2,905 returned positive, an 11.7 percent contagion rate. The number of patients in serious condition is 878 and 1,624 patients are hospitalized in total with 215 on ventilators.

The official death toll has gone up to 1,719.

Updated Oct. 4, 2020 at 12:05 p.m. IL 

Police handed out the highest number of tickets – 7,000 – related to breaking COVID restrictions in one day over the Sukkot holiday and even shut down a yeshiva on Saturday in Bnei Brak after pictures and video showed dozens of people praying there against the rules.

In Jerusalem, police were pelted while trying to enforce restrictions and are gearing up for more unrest and showdowns in the highly uncompliant ultra-Orthodox community.

Police raided a synagogue at the Ponevezh Yeshiva and an administrator was apparently fined 5,000 shekels ($1,456) along with other people gathered.

The record number of fines on Saturday included 5,171 for people in places they were not supposed to be; 1,415 for not wearing masks; 98 for breaking isolation; and 209 for gathering in a sukkah.

Updated Oct. 4, 2020 at 9:29 a.m. IL 

The Ministry of Health reported 5,063 new cases and 46 deaths over Shabbat.

The mortality rate in Israel from COVID-19 remains high. In the last three days alone 105 have died, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,679.

Updated Oct. 2, 2020 at 2:20 p.m. IL 

Israelis will be celebrating the beginning of Sukkot this evening under tight restrictions and potential fines of $145 for being caught in another person’s sukkah.

Along with a new set of rules pertaining to the holiday, the government issued a warning on Thursday that the holiday tents that Jews erect to commemorate the biblical feast presented a potential coronavirus incubator despite being outdoors.

While families may have smaller sukkahs in their gardens or shared public spaces, synagogues traditionally build massive tents that can host hundreds at a time for prayers, meals and even sleeping. The complicated rulings are being interpreted differently: Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, for example, said the rules allow up to 20 people to pray in a 50 percent open sukkah, but not to sit, eat or sleep in it. Another ultra-Orthodox politician said  “50 percent open” is considered outdoors.

With new reports that the ultra-Orthodox make up 40 percent of all coronavirus cases, police will be on patrol to fine people for visiting another person’s sukkah, a new regulation approved by the Knesset this week.

In an opinion piece published in The Jerusalem Post said in light of wanton disregard the ultra-Orthodox community has for the rules, it is time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to break its dependency on the religious parties. The author cited “thousands of mask-less worshipers crowded: into a synagogue among other examples.

Here is an excerpt: “These are not anecdotes. Rather, these are symptoms of a political disease, the sour grapes of an era in which Likud effectively told ultra-Orthodoxy that secular Israel is fine with the ultra-Orthodox way. And the ultra-Orthodox way means placing the tribe above the public, the ghetto above the country, and the rabbi above the state.”

As of Thursday, more than 7,639 people were diagnosed positive for COVID in a single day and the death toll rose to 1,622.

Updated Oct. 1, 2020 at 9:30 p.m. IL 

Some 1,600 people in Israel have died of COVID-19 as of today, the Health Ministry said, with more than 9,013 new coronavirus cases confirmed yesterday.

Also, 40 percent of all coronavirus cases are from the ultra-Orthodox sector, according to Ronny Gamzu, commissioner of the coronavirus task force. The ultra-Orthodox comprise just 12 percent of Israel’s population.

Updated Sept 27, 2020 at 1:22 p.m. IL 

AIN reports On the eve of Yom Kippur, Israel reaching the ‘point of no return’ in fight against coronavirus. Health Ministry director-general predicts Israel’s three-week closure to last longer as 15 percent of test results return positive.

Updated Sept 27, 2020 at 12:15 p.m. IL

Coronavirus infections hit a record of 9,200 new cases. Netanyahu seeks emergency powers to curb protests. Israel sees 59 COVID-19 deaths in one day.

Updated Sept 25, 2020 at 11:42 p.m. IL 

Virus surges to over 7,500 daily cases as Israel set to enter full lockdown.
669 in serious condition, 167 on ventilators; 12.8% of tests come back positive.

Updated Sept 24, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. IL
AIN reports Government adopts ‘hermetic’ closure of country with new restrictions. Israel has the dubious distinction of being first nation to enter second lockdown due to COVID spread.

Updated Sept 23, 2020 at 2:11 p.m. IL
Virus surges to almost 6923 cases. 31 fatalities bought the death toll to 1,316.

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