48-year-old father of 14, previously healthy, among dead as toll climbs to 182

COVID-19 cases at 13,883, a rise of 170 since Monday night, as recoveries continue to outpace new patients; 113 on ventilators

Staff move a patient to a new ward at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, March 22, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Staff move a patient to a new ward at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, March 22, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Five Israelis succumbed Monday overnight and Tuesday morning to the coronavirus, with the Health Ministry raising the death toll to 182. At least two of the dead were younger than the vast majority of the country’s fatalities to date, but they also included the oldest Israeli person to die of COVID-19.

A 48-year-old man with no preexisting health issues died at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, the hospital said. He was identified as Aharon Turchin, a father of 14 from the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak. The hospital said he had been on a ventilator for a week.

The Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center said a 57-year-old woman had died in Jerusalem, adding that she had preexisting health problems.

A 100-year-old woman succumbed at Kaplan Medical Center, which said the woman’s daughter had been allowed to say goodbye while wearing protective gear.

The ministry said Tuesday morning that there had been 13,883 COVID-19 cases in the country, a rise of 170 since Monday night.

It said 142 were in serious condition — seven fewer than the night before — including 113 on ventilators. Another 135 people were in moderate condition.

The ministry said 4,353 people have recovered from the virus, an increase of over 300 overnight, which continues a four-day trend whereby more people have been recovering from COVID-19 than new coronavirus cases have been confirmed, in a sign that the pandemic is beginning to abate in the country.

The Health Ministry said Monday night that five Israelis had died during the day.

Israelis wearing face masks in the city center of Jerusalem on April 20, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

They included Bnei Brak nursing home resident Elimelech Krauss, 71, who had previously been in critical condition.

Two deaths were reported Monday at Hadassah Ein Kerem, a 63-year-old man and an 85-year-old woman, both with preexisting medical conditions. Both had been sedated and on a ventilator for days, the Jerusalem hospital said.

An 89-year-old man with background illnesses died at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

The growing number of recoveries, as well as the slowing pace of new infections, came as Israel began to experiment with rolling back virus restrictions and reopening the economy.

However, officials have warned that restrictions could be put back in place if cases begin to rise again.

Also Monday, lockdowns of the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak and some two dozen Jerusalem neighborhoods ended. The former continues to have the highest per capita infection rate in the country.

Border Police officers inspect drivers in a checkpoint at the exit of the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on April 3, 2020. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

The rollback of the specialized restrictions put both cities under the same rules as the rest of the country, which bar people from venturing more than 100 meters from their homes except to purchase food and supplies or go to work. As of Sunday, they may also go 500 meters from home for exercise or prayer, and 500 meters from their workplace for prayer.

Sports activities are allowed in fixed pairs, or with people from the same household. Outdoor prayer groups of up to 19 people are also allowed, with two meters between worshipers, wearing masks.

Despite the eased rules, ministry officials have urged Israelis to continue maintaining social distancing regulations and not to become complacent.

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