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3 more virus deaths bring toll to 222, as daily infections continue to drop off

Just 112 new cases reported in 24 hours; 105 people in serious condition, 82 of them 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)

The Health Ministry on Thursday evening said the country’s death toll from the novel coronavirus has climbed to 222 — three additional fatalities since the morning.

The overall number of cases rose to 15,946, up just 112 in 24 hours as the downturn in infections persisted.

Meanwhile, the gap between the number of recovered patients and active cases continued to grow, with the number of recovered patients rising to 8,561 — an increase of 328 over the previous 24 hours.

According to the health data, 105 people are currently in serious condition with COVID-19, 82 of them on ventilators. Another 79 are in moderate condition, while the vast majority (6,979) of the active cases are displaying mild symptoms.

There was no immediate information available on the latest three deaths.

In recent days, Israel’s infection rate has dropped off significantly, with only dozens of new cases being reported every 12 hours, and the government has announced steps to ease restrictions on businesses and travel.

A son accompanied by his daughter stand two meters away from his mother’s balcony as he meets with her in Jerusalem during the coronavirus pandemic, on April 30, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

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

Thursday was the fourth consecutive day with fewer than 200 new cases. The country was put into lockdown on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, which was Independence Day, although medical care was exempted from those regulations. It was unclear if this affected testing rates.

Israel on Thursday returned to some semblance of normalcy, with much of the country opening up following two days of ramped up restrictions in place for the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.

A runner wearing a protective mask in Jerusalem, on April 30, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Starting Thursday at 8 a.m., the 500-meter limitation on the distance from home in which Israelis can exercise was lifted, with no further restrictions on physical activity. However, group exercise is still banned, as is exercise in parks.

Most stores are allowed to open, though leisure venues will continue to remain closed, as will all shops in malls except for supermarkets and pharmacies. Eateries are allowed to open for takeaway and deliveries, though not for sitting in.

Beginning Sunday, some students are set to return to school, though final approval depends on the findings of research on infection rates among children that was presented to government ministers and a vote by ministers on Friday.

Social distancing regulations and a requirement to cover mouth and nose with a mask remain in place.

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