Israeli corona cases jump to 529, a rise of 22%

The number of new cases is likely a result of the fact that more tests are being conducted.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The number of coronavirus cases jumped by 96 people to 529. Six are in serious condition, 13 are listed as moderate and 498 are suffering light symptoms only.

On Tuesday it was reported that two of the more serious patients have deteriorated. One is 72 and is located at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. The other is at Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv.

Israel appears to still have the spread of the disease under control although it is struggling to do so. Part of the challenge is keeping its health workers out of quarantine.

Haaretz reported on Thursday that a nurse at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center and her son tested positive. They had been in quarantine since Sunday.

At the start of the week a senior scientist at a coronavirus testing lab came down with the disease. Over 2,500 medical personnel are in isolation throughout the country.

In a special operation to increase the number of testing kits, the Mossad flew in 100,000 overnight Wednesday. However, the kits may not have been what was in short supply.

Itamar Grotto, deputy director general at the Health Ministry, said what was missing were certain testing components, such as swabs.

As a result of the lack of swaps, the opening of a drive-thru testing facility the Health Ministry had set up was postponed, Haaretz reports.

Israel’s Channel 13 says that test tubes are also in short supply.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that the country wants to test 3,000 people daily. It would be the highest number of tests conducted in the world. South Korea at No. 1 tests 1,500 a day.

Israel tested 2,200 people on Wednesday. The jump in the number of cases is likely connected to the increased number of tests being carried out.

The country has tightened its restrictions over the last weeks. It is debating whether to impose a general curfew on the population. Details of what such a curfew would look like have not been made public but Thursday reports say that at certain hours the public would be allowed to leave their homes to go shopping for essentials.

Israel’s government has sent out mixed signals on whether a curfew will take place. The prime minster and others say they don’t want to impose a lockdown and will only do so if the public doesn’t voluntarily comply with guidelines calling for self-isolation.

However, on Wednesday Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan ordered various authorities, in particular the police, to prepare for a general curfew, which he termed “inevitable.”

Reports say the public will be given two-days notice to prepare if a curfew is declared.