945 Israelis diagnosed with coronavirus, 20 in serious condition

The 178-person increase represents the largest jump in numbers Israel has seen to date.

A paramedic adjusts his protective suit as he prepares outside 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, I (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
A paramedic adjusts his protective suit as he prepares outside 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, I
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants to locate and isolate the sick and let the healthy go out to work.
"No one knows where this is going to go," he said on Saturday night during an interview with Channel 12. In a separate interview he told Channel 13: "I am navigating the Titanic and there are many icebergs before us."
The Health Ministry announced on Sunday that 945 Israelis have tested positive for the coronavirus, 20 of them in serious condition.
On Friday, the Health Ministry reported its first death from the COVID-19 disease, Arie Even, 88, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary who settled in Israel after WWII.
Even was hospitalized in the quarantine unit for coronavirus patients at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem a week ago. He arrived in severe condition and was reported to have been suffering from a number of underlying medical conditions.
He suffered cardiac arrest and passed away around 9 p.m.
Among the 15 patients in critical condition are mostly older adults or those with pre-existing conditions. However, according to the ministry, one person is in his 40s and was healthy before contracting the virus. The 178-person increase represents the largest jump in numbers the country has seen to date. The ministry added that 274 of those diagnosed are currently hospitalized.
Moreover, more than 3,000 medical professionals are in isolation, including 814 doctors and 893 nurses.
Several Knesset members are in isolation as well, and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich entered quarantine on Saturday night after coming in contact with a woman who was infected with coronavirus.
Two of the new patients are enlisted soldiers, the IDF reported. Both in mild conditions. A total of 14 IDF troops have so far been infected, while more than 6,000 are currently in isolation.
In a statement, the IDF said the Home Front Command is continuing its efforts to curtail the rapidly spreading virus, working in collaboration with various government ministries and Magen David Adom rescue services.
On Friday, about 40 troops from the Home Front Command’s Rescue Brigade evacuated and sterilized a hostel in Gedera after a woman there was found to have been infected with the virus.
Also, over the weekend the IDF’s Medical Corps opened an in-patient facility in the holiday village at Ashkelon of “Yahad – United for Israel’s Soldiers” for servicemen and women who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and are slightly ill.
Despite the virus’s continued spread, thousands of Israeli teens are expected to be drafted into IDF combat units on Sunday at four bases across the country.
The recruits will travel to the centers on designated buses with no more than 25 at once. The registration process will be carried out in open spaces with all recruits maintaining a distance of at least two meters.
Significant adjustments have been made to training bases, and recruits will be briefed on maintaining the proper procedures in fighting the virus.
Medical teams have also been reinforced and trained to identify recruits who are exhibiting initial symptoms of the virus and all units have been provided with vehicles equipped to evacuate soldiers who need to quarantine and be provided with medical care.
Since Tuesday, the Health Ministry has been performing over 2,000 tests per day, marking a significant increase from previous days. On Friday almost 2,500 tests were performed.
The Defense Ministry announced that it delivered to the Health Ministry a shipment of 3,000 tubes of liquids for coronavirus testing. This material is an essential component that was missing from the 100,000 coronavirus test kits brought to the country in a Mossad operation on Wednesday. The tests were later found out to be incomplete because they were missing a patented liquid into which the testing sticks need to be dipped before a screening can be administered, a Magen David Adom spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post.
MDA announced on Saturday night that it would set up another three drive-through testing stations for the coronavirus in Jerusalem, Beersheba and Haifa, after the first one which began operations in Tel Aviv on Friday, according to Ynet. The report added that in Jerusalem the station will be set in the parking lot of the Teddy Stadium in Katamon.
In an interview with Channel 12, Netanyahu talked about rolling out a new coronavirus test that will allow the country to deem if someone had contracted the virus and built up immunity so that he or she could go out to work and resume life as usual. But he acknowledged that such a test does not yet exist and that medical professionals are unsure if one can build up an immunity to coronavirus.
Over the weekend in many parts of the country the weather was pleasant and Israelis left their homes in violation of Health Ministry regulations, sparking a warning by the ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu that if Israelis continue to break quarantine, then restrictions will be tightened.
The Health Ministry has issued guidelines that order Israelis to remain in their homes unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. Visiting parks, beaches, pools, libraries and museums is prohibited, as are all social interactions. Work that can be done from home should be.
Currently all “essential” services will remain open, including supermarkets, pharmacies and most medical services. In addition, while Israelis are encouraged to work from home, employees who need to travel to work will be able to do so.
More than half a million Israelis have already signed up for Bituach Leum (national insurance) unemployment benefits.
Prime Minister’s Office acting director-general Ronen Peretz and secretary-general of the Israel Teachers' Union Yaffe Ben-David are scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss the progress of remote learning. The parties will continue to talk in the coming days as further decisions are made about necessary restrictions across the country.
As of Saturday at 11 p.m., more than 304,030 people were infected across the world and over 12,977 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Rachel Wolf, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.



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