Israel to surpass China in number of coronavirus infections

Head of coronavirus task force warns of national lockdown unless public complies with government health restrictions.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

According to Ministry of Health statistics released Wednesday, Israel is about to overtake China in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The Health Ministry reported 1,785 new cases in the past 24-hours, bringing Israel’s total to  87,173 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, while according to John Hopkins University China has 88,956 cases.

Israel is averaging between 1,600-1,800 new cases daily, while China on Tuesday reported only 50 new cases, meaning that Israel is expected to surpass China in confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday.

On Tuesday, the head of the government’s coronavirus task force, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, warned that a national  lockdown may be inevitable because of the public’s failure to comply with health regulations and a drop in the number of people getting tested.

“If you cannot prevent yourself from gathering, then perhaps there is no choice but to go into lockdown,” Gamzu said.

The coronavirus czar admitted that the pandemic regulations are “not a simple burden,” but warned that if the infection rate was not brought down “lockdown means another half a million unemployed.”

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As of Wednesday morning 780 Israelis are hospitalized with coronavirus, 379 of them in serious condition and of those, 109 are connected to ventilators to help them breathe.

Overnight eight more Israelis succumbed to the virus, bringing the death toll to 633, while in China the death toll from the pandemic stands at 4,691.

Israel won praise for its handling of the first wave of coronavirus infections when government-imposed closures and other health restrictions reduced the infection rate to zero.

However, with the second wave continuing to run rampant in Israel, news outlets like CNN and Canada’s CBC are citing Israel as an example of when things go wrong. In the past weeks Israel has been mentioned for the mistakes made in easing restrictions too quickly in reopening the economy.

In Canada, where provincial governments are struggling over how to safely reopen schools in the fall, a CBC report noted the case of the Jerusalem high school that had a major outbreak when schools reopened.