3 more die from virus as Israel death toll reaches 8; number of cases hits 2,666

Wolfson Medical Center says 91-year-old woman died after being in critical condition for days; 2 others die in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak; 39 people in serious condition

Illustrative: Doctors and nurses treat a patient at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: Doctors and nurses treat a patient at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The number of Israelis who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic rose Thursday by three to a total of eight, with diagnosed cases rising by 171 to 2,666, the Health Ministry announced.

The sixth fatality was a 91-year-old woman with the coronavirus, Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said, adding that she had been in critical condition for many days, sedated and on a ventilator, and that staff had tried to save her life “with every means, night and day, with much dedication.”

“We share in the sorrow of the family members,” the hospital said.

It said her family members had been informed and that social workers were helping them.

The Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem said that one of the deceased was an 89-year-woman who had been admitted to the medical center with the virus as well as underlying health problems. Her family has been informed.

The third fatality was reportedly an 83-year-old man who was hospitalized at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak.

Medical personnel wearing protective gear handle a coronavirus test sample at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem on March 24, 2020 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Health Ministry also said there were 39 people in serious condition, 68 were in moderate condition and the rest had mild symptoms.

So far, 68 people have fully recovered from the illness, the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the ministry said there were 5,240 tests conducted for the virus in the 24 hours from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, and 59,493 people were under mandatory home quarantine over concerns they may have been exposed to the virus, the ministry noted.

The updated ministry figures came after the government tightened lockdown rules and warned violators could face fines and six months of imprisonment.

The emergency regulations, in effect for a seven-day period, include a prohibition on people venturing more than 100 meters from their homes, apart from under certain circumstances, and the shuttering of synagogues.

Police patrol on the Tel Aviv beach boardwalk on March 25, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The regulations (read the full list here) permit Israelis to leave their homes only for essential reasons, including seeking medical care and buying groceries.

In addition, public transportation was reduced to around 25 percent of services and taxis will only be permitted to take one passenger at a time unless the second is an escort for medical reasons. All passengers must sit in the backseat of the vehicle with the windows open.

Restaurant delivery services are allowed to continue; however, takeout is no longer permitted. Shipping and delivery of items bought online can also continue but all packages are to be left outside the door of the residence.

Nonessential stores are to close and parks are to remain shut.

The government on Wednesday also gave police the power to impose fines of NIS 500 or imprisonment of up to six months for individuals violating these restrictions, as well as larger fines for businesses who do so, including a NIS 5,000 fine for illegally operating public transportation.

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