1,221 virus cases diagnosed over previous day, 2 more people die

Health Ministry figures show 172 in serious condition, with 53 on ventilators; active patients surge to 20,333

People wearing face masks, due to the coronavirus outbreak, on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem on July 13, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
People wearing face masks, due to the coronavirus outbreak, on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem on July 13, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said Monday afternoon that an additional 1,221 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the day before, bringing  the total number of active patients to 20,333.

Two more people died, bringing the death toll to 364.

There were 160 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, a jump of 21, with three more patients put on ventilators, bringing the total to 53. Another 102 were described as being in moderate condition, while the rest had light or no symptoms, the ministry figures showed.

The update, the first of the day, was published some four hours later than usual. Another set of figures was expected later in the evening.

Christians nuns, wearing face masks due to the coronavirus outbreak, walk in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 9, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Recent weeks have seen the reversal of many of the earlier gains made in the fight against the coronavirus. The country had been placed on a nationwide lockdown for several weeks at the start of the outbreak in mid-March, but removed most of its restrictions by May to reopen the economy.

Since the coronavirus first reached the country, 39,979 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

To contain the surge in new cases, the government has reimposed many restrictions on gatherings and economic activity, and on Friday a number of lockdowns came into effect in neighborhoods in five towns and cities hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. That measure came a day after cabinet ministers approved the closures as the number of new cases in Israel continued to rise, hitting over 1,000 a day.

The new figures come as experts warned of the need for further lockdowns and as lawmakers debated the merit of the new regulations introduced by the government last week.

Amid the rising number of cases, a team of experts from the Hebrew University on Sunday morning presented the government with a grim prediction that a hundred more Israelis will die of the coronavirus by the end of July. They therefore recommended the reimposition of strict restrictions starting from next week, including a nationwide lockdown, if the rate of new infections does not slow down by then.

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