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Israel records just 13 new virus cases over 24-hour period, lowest since March

Amid fears of potential renewed outbreak due to Lag B’Omer gatherings, Health Ministry numbers continue to drop; 2 new fatalities take death toll to 262

Israelis wear protective face masks as they enjoy the Tel Aviv port, amid increasingly eased restrictions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, May 12, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Israelis wear protective face masks as they enjoy the Tel Aviv port, amid increasingly eased restrictions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, May 12, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Health Ministry said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grew by 13 between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, the lowest increase recorded over any 24-hour period since the beginning of the outbreak in March.

The ministry said the total number of cases was 16,539, up 10 from Tuesday night’s figure. So far, 12,173 have recovered from the virus, while 4,104 are still sick.

The country’s death toll from COVID-19 stood at 262, with two new fatalities reported since Tuesday night. There was no immediate information on the latest casualties.

According to the Health Ministry, 61 people infected with COVID-19 are in serious condition, 51 of whom are on ventilators. Another 46 people are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

The data said 7,183 coronavirus tests had been conducted throughout the country on Tuesday. Initial figures for Wednesday said there had been 1,279 tests by 11 a.m.

Among those who have recovered is Holocaust survivor Feige Leibovitz, who turns 97 on Thursday, Army Radio reported Wednesday.

She recovered at Rambam hospital in Haifa and reunited with her daughter Sima for the first time in two months. “She is a tough survivor,” said Sima. “The coronavirus has nothing on her.”

Leibovitz is the second Holocaust survivor to overcome the virus in two days, after 99-year-old Sara Itzinger beat it and was sent home on Tuesday.

The number of new infections has slowed dramatically in recent weeks. Israel has gone ten days without seeing over 100 new confirmed cases in a single day.

Amid the sustained drop in infections, the government has increasingly rolled back restrictions meant to curb the outbreak, opening some schools and allowing many businesses to reopen, and was reportedly planning more such measures.

Ultra-Orthodox men clash with police officers during the celebrations of the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer on Mount Meron in northern Israel on May 12, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

However, authorities were bracing for a possible second wave of infections after thousands of ultra-Orthodox men gathered Monday night and Tuesday in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Mount Meron to celebrate Lag B’Omer in violation of guidelines. Hundreds also gathered at a funeral Tuesday for an IDF soldier killed during a West Bank raid.

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