Israeli coronavirus cases spike to 250

Senior doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital diagnosed with the illness.

A paramedic wearing a protective suit stands near a special polling station set up by Israel's election committee so Israelis under home-quarantine, such as those who have recently travelled back to Israel from coronavirus hot spots, can vote in Israel's national election, in Ashkelon, Israel March  (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A paramedic wearing a protective suit stands near a special polling station set up by Israel's election committee so Israelis under home-quarantine, such as those who have recently travelled back to Israel from coronavirus hot spots, can vote in Israel's national election, in Ashkelon, Israel March
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
The coronavirus continues to spread across Israel. According to the Ministry of Health, as of 8 a.m.. Monday there are 250 people infected with the virus. Some 50 of them were diagnosed in the last 24 hours - the highest number in one day so far. 
According to Mako, one of the reasons for this could be the increase in the number of tests conducted on Sunday - about 1,000 versus around 400 on Saturday. 
Some 190 people are in hospital, 44 in home care and another 12 in process of being hospitalized. Four Israelis have recovered from the virus. 
Among those infected with COVID-19, Ynet said, was a senior doctor in one of the unit's at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. All the patients - many of them seniors - had to be transported to another hospital unit and the staff was sent home and into isolation while the unit in question undergoes disinfection, Ynet reported.
Visitors to the ward told Ynet that the isolation was not properly maintained in the hospital's coronavirus ward and that staff treating coronavirus patients was also treating other patients.
However, it was noted, that the doctor's husband also felt ill and may have the virus and infected her. However, she spent two days in the ward, where dozens of elderly people are in poor physical condition before being diagnosed.
On Monday morning, the Health Ministry reported on these 250 diagnoses, the majority of whom are in good condition,  while 11 are moderate and four are in critical condition. To date, more than 63,000 citizens have been in home isolation.
Among those tested for the virus on Sunday were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and those who came into close contact with him. The screenings were found to be negative.
Neither Netanyahu nor the others being checked displayed symptoms of COVID-19. The tests were administered at the instructions of the Prime Minister's Office deputy director-general for security and emergencies.
The Health Ministry informed the public on Sunday that it has discovered the origin of contraction for patient No. 29, a Magen David Adom worker in his 40s. He became infected via contact with a family member who was exposed to coronavirus via a known patient, the ministry said, and his wife and two children contracted the virus from him.
Now, there remains only one other patient with unknown origin: Patient No. 71, a man in his 60s from the center of the country.
The number of patients, which continues to grow by more than a dozen daily, comes on the backdrop of new restrictions, including the closing Sunday morning of all cafes and other leisure and recreation facilities and the mandate that no one should gather in groups larger than 10.
Restaurants were shuttered, malls locked and cities were eerily quiet throughout the day. Moreover, after a late-night Saturday request of the public by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich “to minimize rides and only use public transit for important commutes," the trains and buses were nearly empty.
Channel 12 reported that there are usually 50,000 to 60,000 daily rides on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train and on Sunday there were fewer than 5,000.
The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, a popular accommodation for visiting dignitaries, celebrities and foreign correspondents, announced that it would be shutting its doors due to the outbreak.
"Following last night's announcement by the Israeli government, we are forced by law to close our hotel and all public outlets (restaurants, bars and fitness center),” hotel general manager Guy Lindt wrote on the hotel's Facebook page. “Sadly, we cannot honor future bookings as well as existing ones until further notice.”
Moreover, Interior Minister Arye Deri said Sunday that the beach season will be delayed due to the spread of the virus. Beaches were scheduled to open April 1, but in light of the bans on gathering and in order to maintain public health, Deri said the season would be pushed back until further notice.
The cabinet held a lengthy discussion on authorizing the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to assist in the national effort to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, clarifying that the request for the assistance of the ISA came from Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov.
It was clarified that the ISA would not take part in enforcement vis-à-vis those in quarantine or in quarantine procedures and that the authorization to view this personal data would be valid for no more than 30 days from the approval of the decision by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Subcommittee on the Secret Services.
Police reported that they have opened 59 investigations tied to the coronavirus. Seven are connected to the sharing of fake news and 52 are tied to people or establishments that broke quarantine or other regulations put in place.
In one striking incident, a person who was breaking the conditions of their required coronavirus quarantine was arrested in Tel Aviv after attacking security guards at a train station.
A video of the arrest showed police officers in full-body protective gear pinning down the man who was supposed to be in quarantine.
Israel Police stated that a man, 47, was found on Bograshov St. in Tel Aviv after refusing to stay in quarantine. He had been involved in an attack on security guards at the city's Hahagana train station. A hearing will be held on Sunday to determine whether to extend his arrest.
"The police call on the public to listen to directives and instructions from the Health Ministry; not following them disrupts the national effort to fight the outbreak of the virus and its spread in Israel," said Israel Police on Saturday night. "Additionally, there is an absolute prohibition on spreading fake news whose sole purpose is to plant panic throughout the public. Relevant and authoritative information, including updates and official directives, will be published only by authorized officials and on the Health Ministry website."
President Reuven Rivlin told the public on Sunday to “keep calm and avoid hysteria.”
Speaking ahead of his meetings with members of the 23rd Knesset to receive their recommendations before announcing which member of Knesset will be tasked with forming a government in the next 28 days, the president reminded people to “follow the rules and instructions and do not give way to fear and panic.
“More than ever, the success of the State of Israel in dealing with this extreme crisis lies in the hands of our civil society,” said the president. “Now is when we are asked to give our children, on our own, a positive and normal routine. Now is when we are asked, more than ever, to take responsibility for our fellows, particularly the elderly among us – in our buildings, communities, neighborhoods, and those who are at the highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.
“That is the spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us,” the president concluded.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.