Netanyahu Orders Health System to Prepare for Doubling of Severe COVID-19 Cases

September 29, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a series of discussions on Sunday just before the Yom Kippur holiday in which he ordered the implementation of further measures for preventing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as Israel is under a second full lockdown and as the infection rate remains very high.

Outdoor prayers. (Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS)

The relevant ministers, ministry director generals, the Corona Project Manager Ronni Gamzu and other senior officials participated in the discussions.

Netanyahu determined the stages to be taken when Israel emerges from the full lockdown and the gradual transition to a “Coronavirus routine” until a vaccine is developed.

He ordered the health establishment to prepare for the treatment of 1,500 severe Coronavirus cases by Thursday. As of Tuesday, some 770 patients are hospitalized in severe condition, 209 of whom are on life support.

The officials discussed other aspects such as rapid testing, increasing enforcement capabilities, including increased fines and sanctions for violating the regulations.

The Corona Cabinet will convene on Wednesday to discuss these issues, especially the continued maintenance of the lockdown outline, the criteria for the transition to the next stages and the additional measures to reduce morbidity.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi decided on Sunday on a curfew starting Tuesday for all combatants and soldiers in training for up to a month following the high number of IDF soldiers with Corona.

“Maintaining the IDF’s competence is a top task, and as a result, the fight against the Coronavirus within the IDF is a key task. We must act immediately and with full force to reduce the morbidity in the IDF internally,” he stated.

Synagogues across Israel opened in a very limited fashion on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and most Israelis prayed in parks, on balconies, and in parking lots.

However, several communities and sects chose to ignore the danger posed by the virus.

The police issued dozens of reports to Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Bnei Brak who congregated while not wearing masks and in breach with the lockdown orders. The Viznitz community held mass services inside their main hall.

The police issued some 4,000 fines during Yom Kippur, mostly to people found away from home with no justified reason.

The Ministry of Health updated Tuesday morning that it documented 1,121 new cases in the past 24 hours. Only a small number of 8,105 tests were conducted on Yom Kippur, but the positive rate stood at a very high 13.8%.

Of the 233,265 Israelis who have been infected by the virus since the outbreak in February 1,507 have died.

For the first time, Israel surpassed the US in the number of Corona deaths per day in relation to the size of the population, according to a report compiled by the IDF’s Intelligence Division.

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