Has Israel turned the corner on corona? Numbers give hope

The number of Israelis in serious condition has dropped. So has the number on ventilators. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel’s Health Ministry reported positive news on Sunday. The number of those who have recovered from coronavirus has passed the number of infected.

Of the 13,362 cases in Israel, 3,564, or 26.6 percent, have recovered.

Patients listed in serious condition as of Sunday morning 9:00 a.m. Israel time was 156, a drop of 6.6 percent in 24 hours.

The number of hospitalized is 592 of whom 109 are intubated, a drop of 7.6 percent from Saturday and the lowest number in two weeks.

The number of deaths from the disease is 171, up 13 from a day ago. Sixty-four of them occurred in 14 elderly care centers. The Health Ministry has been criticized for being slow to react to the situation in such centers.

Coronavirus hot spots continue to be Bnei Brak, Jerusalem and, more recently, an Arab village in the north, Deir al-Asad, on which a curfew has been imposed.

Israel’s government has signaled that it hopes, through mass testing, to move from a policy of general curfew to one of isolated curfews on areas where the disease erupts. Towards that end, the Health Ministry purchased 2.4 million test kits for 100 million shekels from Abbott Laboratories in the U.S. and the Italian firm Diasorin.

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The receding numbers lend support to the Israeli government’s decision announced on Saturday evening by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lighten the restrictions imposed on the public.

The percentage of employees permitted at workplaces that are not considered “essential” will increase from 15 to 30 percent.

Some 10,000 street shops will reopen (though not malls) and certain stores that sell appliances, household goods, computers, eyewear,  sports equipment and music will be included. Malls and open-air markets will remain closed. Also to remain closed are clothing stores, jewelry shops, toy stores, hair salons and gyms.

Netanyahu lauded Israel for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing its statistics to those of countries hit far harder by the deadly virus.

“I’m working day and night, around the clock,” said Netanyahu, who later thanked the IDF, the police, and Israel’s “amazing youth” for their roles in fighting the “coronavirus war.”