92-year-old man in Jerusalem dies of COVID-19, Israel’s 13th death from virus

Shaare Zedek Medical Center says patient, Mordechai Ben Michael from Jerusalem, was hospitalized for the past week in very serious condition, had preexisting illnesses

View of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, March 24, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, March 24, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A 92-year-old man in Jerusalem diagnosed with the coronavirus died Sunday, the 13th fatality in Israel from COVID-19.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center said the man had “many serious existing illnesses” and was brought to the hospital a week ago in very serious condition.

“Unfortunately, this morning his condition deteriorated and he passed away,” the hospital said in a statement.

He was later named as Mordechai Ben Michael from Jerusalem. His daughter said she was saddened by the circumstances of his death.

“My father died alone and far away, even though there is a 24-hour medical team. That’s the hardest part for us,” she said.

Ben Michael was the 13th known person to die in Israel of the coronavirus, 12 of whom have been over the age of 70. An 82-year-old Israeli man in Italy also died of the disease.

Magen David Adom paramedics in protective clothing are seen in Jerusalem on March 28, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As of Sunday morning, there have been 3,865 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel. According to the Health Ministry, 66 people are in serious condition, including 54 who were breathing with the help of ventilators. Another 82 people were in moderate condition, while the rest had minor symptoms.

Most of those with the virus were being treated at home or at specially designated hotels for those with COVID-19, and 500 patients were at hospitals around the country. Among the infected were 141 medical personnel, according to the Health Ministry.

The latest reported increase in confirmed cases came as the government was set to weigh further restrictions on movement in a bid to contain the virus.

One directive to be weighed on Sunday is to further reduce, from 30 percent to 20 percent, the proportion of a given company’s staff allowed to continue to go to work. Another would be to restrict people to within 2-3 kilometers from home when buying groceries and supplies, and a third measure would see supermarkets allocate two hours a day for elderly shoppers who are considered high risk for contracting the virus.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks near the Old City of Jerusalem on March 28, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israelis were ordered starting on Wednesday to remain in their homes unless they are taking part in a small number of approved activities, including purchasing food and medicine or a short walk of no more than 100 meters (328 feet) from their home. Those found violating those regulations are subject to large fines of upwards of NIS 500 ($140) or imprisonment.

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