1,525 virus cases recorded in last 24 hours as ministers pass new restrictions
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1,525 virus cases recorded in last 24 hours as ministers pass new restrictions

Coronavirus cabinet approves additional limits on crowding in indoor spaces, while easing others in open-air spaces; number of active cases drops by 733 since previous day

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, followers of the Hasidic sect of Shomrei Emunim, gather for the funeral of their Rabbi Refael Aharon Roth, 72, who died from COVID-19, in Bnei Brak, Israel, August 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews, followers of the Hasidic sect of Shomrei Emunim, gather for the funeral of their Rabbi Refael Aharon Roth, 72, who died from COVID-19, in Bnei Brak, Israel, August 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Health Ministry coronavirus figures released Friday evening showed that 1,525 new cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 91,080.

The updated numbers were released hours after ministers voted to further expand restrictions on crowding in both indoor and outdoor spaces in an effort to curb the unremitting infection rate.

Of the 91,080, 23,450 were active cases — a drop of 733 cases from 24 hours earlier.

The death toll grew to 665 — eight more since Friday morning and 14 more since Thursday night.

The number of serious cases stood at 375, down by two from Friday morning. Of them, 108 were on ventilators.

Another 158 patients were in moderate condition, and the rest had mild or no symptoms.

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton chairing the Knesset Coronavirus Committee on June 17, 2020. (Instagram)

The ministry said 28,871 coronavirus test results came back Thursday, of which 5.9 percent were positive. The share of positive results has steadily declined over the past week after it rose to 9.3% on August 8.

Earlier Friday, the so-called coronavirus cabinet approved additional restrictions on crowding in indoor spaces, while easing other limits against crowding in open-air spaces.

In a vote that took place over the phone, ministers agreed to bar over 10 people in closed spaces such as businesses, restaurants and synagogues that are smaller than 80 square meters and up to 20 people in places that larger than that size. To date, restaurants have been allowed to seat 20 customers indoors and 30 customers outdoors.

In open spaces, crowds will be allowed of up to 30 people, instead of the 20-person limit that is currently in place.

The updated restrictions will come into effect on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and will be brought before the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for ratification.

The coronavirus cabinet also voted to update the restriction that currently bars more than three people “who live together” from traveling in the same vehicle to include the caretaker of an individual with special needs.

During a meeting Thursday evening of the coronavirus cabinet, National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat proposed a renewed general lockdown to stop the outbreak, Channel 13 reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for a plan to be developed within a week to possibly impose a general lockdown if infection rates stay high, the report said, without citing a source.

However, so-called coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu noted it was a contingency plan for an emergency only, and that there was no current intention of shutting down the economy, according to the report.

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