Enforcement lapsing, Israel sees 216 cases in 24 hours

Health Ministry blames the spike of coronavirus cases on relaxed restrictions.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Israel’s upsurge of coronavirus cases continued on Tuesday with 216 new cases diagnosed, many coming from the heavily haredi communities of Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit, and Elad as well as the Arab sector.

Secular Tel Aviv has also become an epicenter, with the infection rate twice as high as in the rest of the country, according to government officials.

The Health Ministry is worried that the authorities are not taking seriously enough the enforcement of health regulations. Prof. Sigal Sadetsky, head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, said that without enforcement the virus will return.

There are 3,598 active cases, 27 in serious condition, and 302 deaths, according to the latest coronavirus figures released by the Health Ministry.

Sadetsky believes the recent spike is directly related to Israel’s ease of coronaviruses restrictions, especially in schools where many children have been disproportionately infected.

“I’m sorry to say, the disease is coming back,” Sadetsky told the Knesset Special Committee on the Novel Coronavirus on Tuesday. “There is a significant increase in the number of corona cases all over the country, with an emphasis on children.”

“We see a clear correlation between the opening of the economy and a rise in morbidity,” she said, adding the morbidity rates in 57 communities is “not a statistic that can be ignored.”

Sadetsky also said the increase in corona cases throughout the country cannot be explained by the increased pace of testing asymptomatic virus carriers because the number of detected positive cases among those tested is growing, while an increase in the number of tests should have led to a decrease.

At least 11 of those diagnosed on Tuesday are employed at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, reports Yediot Ahronot.

The director-general of the hospital, Prof. Roni Gamzu, held a meeting with various departments on Tuesday to stress the importance of coronavirus guidelines after it was discovered a large number of unmasked hospital staff ignored social distancing during a farewell party on Sunday, the report says.

According to the Health Ministry, 690 medical staff throughout Israel are in quarantine, including 68 from Sourasky.