Coronavirus cabinet to consider new restrictions as cases climb

19-year-old dies of virus complications * Death toll rises to 317

Mayanei Hayeshua Medical team treat a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the coronavirus unit, in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, Israel, April 13, 2020 (photo credit: NATI SHOCHAT/FLASH 90)
Mayanei Hayeshua Medical team treat a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the coronavirus unit, in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, Israel, April 13, 2020
(photo credit: NATI SHOCHAT/FLASH 90)
The coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet on Sunday to vote on reinstating some restrictions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Over the weekend, a 19-year-old fell victim to coronavirus. As of Saturday night, 621 new cases had been diagnosed in the previous 24 hours.
Among the restrictions under consideration, according to a report by the Hebrew news website N12: limiting gatherings to 20 or 30 people and limiting events to up to 150; capsules at school-run summer camps; keeping camps closed; calling on companies to encourage work from home; capsules at work places; and capping the number of people who can visit the beach at one time.
 “The steps we take now, today, will stop tomorrow’s closure,” Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch said in an interview with N12 over the weekend. “We need to take action now to stop the large spike in numbers” of sick people. “The number of people getting infected per day is around 400 to 500, and we know that in the next two weeks they will continue to rise – that is the nature of this virus.”
He continued: “What we do today – what is decided tomorrow at the coronavirus cabinet meeting – should stop it there.”
Kisch’s remarks came around the time that Hadassah Medical Center announced that a 19-year-old woman had died from coronavirus complications.
The hospital said she had severe pre-existing conditions, including pulmonary hypertension, obesity and congestive heart failure before being diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease that results from the novel coronavirus.
A spokesperson told the media that the woman had been intubated on admission, connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. However, after about a-week-and-a-half of treatment, she died.
The patient was also reportedly given an experimental treatment, a passive vaccine containing Immunoglobulin G.
The hospital has put numerous staff members who encountered the patient into isolation and screened them for the virus, due to the patient’s large viral load and the lengthy resuscitation she underwent.
As of Saturday night, the number of patients in serious condition stood at 41, five less than 24 hours earlier. However, several people died over the weekend, bringing the country’s death toll to 317.
The number of active cases also increased. There were 6,102 as of 10 p.m. Saturday – up from 5,614 the night before.
 The total number of people infected since the start of the crisis stands at 23,421, with 17,002 who have recovered.
The Health Ministry carried out 16,551 tests on Friday.
Despite the increase in patients, the ages of people diagnosed with the virus still tend to be younger, with about 90% being under the age of 60.
Some 19 residents and staff members of the Ahva senior living facility near Ashdod were diagnosed positive for corona. The staff members caught the virus from a driver who was transporting them to work, the Health Ministry said.
In addition, 17 residents and seven staff members of a senior facility in Ramle were also infected. The residents are being treated at general or geriatric hospitals. The staff members are being treated in “coronavirus hotels.”
In order to ensure that they caught all people who have the virus, residents and staff will be retested in three days, the Health Ministry said. All of the residents in the nursing homes are in isolation.
Despite the increase in coronavirus, the public continues to gather. On Saturday, the Nature and Parks Authority had to send out a notice for beachgoers to stay away from the Palmachim National Park because it was fully occupied.
The Kinneret Urban Union said that Gofra Beach has been closed due to overload, as well.
In order to help stop the spread of the virus, Israel Police are stepping up enforcement across the country to catch and fine people who are not wearing masks and fine or even shut down businesses that are not adhering to the Health Ministry’s “Purple Ribbon” standards.
In Jerusalem, police said they visited 18 businesses overnight Thursday and fined several of them. They also carried out an operation focused on event halls, restaurants, cafes and recreational spaces.
In Bat Yam, police officers could be seen on Friday scanning empty beaches.
In total, Police said they gave out 1,013 fines on Thursday for people who were not wearing masks and dispersed crowds at 15 businesses. They gave warning to 104 establishments, summoned 13 business owners for hearings and closed five.
Late Thursday night, the Ministerial Committee on Declaring Restricted Zones put closures on three areas of Ashdod and on Bat Yam, adding the cities to a growing list that includes Tiberias and Elad.
The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center released a report Friday recommending that Lod, Beitar Illit, Or Yehuda and Hura receive more testing and that the Health Ministry embark on a public information campaign in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city of Bnei Brak, which was a coronavirus hot spot during the first wave. The center also recommended that Bnei Brak residents be tested and police step up enforcement in the area.
On Saturday, Palestinian Authority health officials announced that a man in his 70s died after he was diagnosed with the virus, bringing the total number of Palestinian victims to seven.
The man was a resident of Hebron. The city and its surrounding villages and towns have been placed in lockdown following a spike in coronavirus cases in the West Bank in the past two weeks.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.