2 deaths take virus toll to 227, as infection rate continues downward trend
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2 deaths take virus toll to 227, as infection rate continues downward trend

148 additional infections reported over the past 24 hours as new cases continue to slow; 107 in serious condition, 84 of whom are on ventilators

Magen David Adom medics wearing protective clothing with a patient outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Magen David Adom medics wearing protective clothing with a patient outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Two people died overnight from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said Saturday morning, taking the death toll to 227.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 16,152, an increase of just 148 over the past 24 hours, continuing the trend of fewer than 200 new infections a day that has held for much of the past week.

According to the Health Ministry, 107 people infected with COVID-19 were in serious condition, 84 of whom were on ventilators.

Another 67 people were in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing seen outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020 (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

So far, 9,400 people have recovered from the virus as of Friday evening, while 6,525 were infected.

On Wednesday, the number of Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19 surpassed those who are sick for the first time since the start of the pandemic, a trend that also has continued.

In recent days, Israel’s infection rate has dropped off significantly, with the number of new cases over a 24-hour period falling below 200 since Sunday evening.

The lower number of cases has coincided with a drop in testing, though the Health Ministry says it has the capacity to run 15,000 samples a day but not enough suspected cases to test.

Police officers and IDF soldiers guard at a checkpoint in a Jerusalem neighborhood under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, May 1, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As the infection rate has declined, the government has begun easing restrictions on commerce and movement, including allowing many businesses to reopen and lifting the limit on the distance Israelis can exercise from their homes.

Ministers are set to convene Sunday to discuss easing additional restrictions, namely lifting the limit of 100 meters Israelis can go from their homes if not for a permitted activity, according to Hebrew media reports.

The Health Ministry considers the coming week to be crucial for determining a time frame for further reopening. Officials will gauge the effects of recent reopening measures to make their decisions going forward.

Israelis on the beach promenade and beach in Tel Aviv, May 01, 2020 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

However, police on Friday reportedly expressed concern over the flouting of social distancing rules after thousands of Israelis took advantage of the warm weather to spend time outside, heading to beaches in Tel Aviv and Herzliya, many of them not keeping to distancing rules and not wearing masks. Others thronged to markets to shop ahead of the Sabbath or were just hanging out in outdoor spaces.

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