Number of new Israeli coronavirus infections lowest in weeks as economy opens up

Retail market begins staged return with street shops and hair salons allowed to open their doors again.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The coronavirus infection rate continued to drop Monday with Ministry of Health statistics showing only 68 new cases were confirmed in the past day – the lowest number of new infections in over a month.

A total of 15,466 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Israel, with 6,796 of them having made a full recovery, the health ministry said. The number of Israelis hospitalized dropped to 383 people, with 129 of them in serious condition and 96 people connected to ventilators.

Three more people succumbed to the disease overnight, bringing Israel’s coronavirus death toll to 202.

One of those hospitalized is an 11-year-old girl who remains in critical condition in Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Her mother, who is also infected, told Kan Radio that initially health officials did not feel her daughter needed to be hospitalized.

However, the next day her condition deteriorated and the mother called the Magen David Adom ambulance service saying if they didn’t take her daughter immediately to the hospital, “I was afraid I was going to lose her.”

Of the roughly 7,000 Israelis who are infected with only mild or no symptoms, 5,331 of them are quarantined in their homes and 1,775 are isolated in hotels being used by the government as quarantine centers.

Public transportation was operating as shoppers and those needing to go to the bank or other services were out on the streets, almost all conforming to health regulations requiring a protective mask be worn.

This week Israel eased some restrictions on commercial activity, and for the first time in over a month hair and beauty salons were allowed to open as were street-front stores, but under regulations requiring social distancing and hygiene be maintained.

Large employers are still restricted to having only 30 percent of their staff on site. Shopping malls, entertainment venues and most of the education system remain closed.

While some special education classes resumed last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with senior health and education officials to work out a schedule on how to open up schools without causing an increase in the virus infection rate.

It is expected that kindergartens and grades first through third will resume a limited schedule in a gradual reopening of the education system, Kan reported.