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Computer bug freezes virus tally ahead of ministers’ discussion on lockdown

Error, possibly related to switch to standard time, keeps Health Ministry from publishing regular daily update, meaning coronavirus cabinet may not have needed info when it meets

An Israeli laboratory worker conducts serological tests for coronavirus at the Leumit Health Care Services laboratory in Or Yehuda, near Tel Aviv on June 29, 2020. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)
An Israeli laboratory worker conducts serological tests for coronavirus at the Leumit Health Care Services laboratory in Or Yehuda, near Tel Aviv on June 29, 2020. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

A technical error possibly linked to Israel’s move to standard time Sunday morning has delayed the publication of updating figures of coronavirus cases and infection rates.

As of 12:30 p.m. Sunday, updated numbers had yet to be released, though the ministry generally publishes new figures at 7 a.m. and again around 10 a.m. The last numbers currently available are from 10 p.m. Saturday.

A Health Ministry spokesperson said the delay was due to a computer glitch “possibly related to the time change.”

The spokesperson did not give a time when the new numbers would become available, but said it would be “fixed soon.”

The bug could affect a meeting of ministers set to discuss the possibility of rolling back virus restrictions, without updated figures to base their decisions on. The ministers were set to meet at 2 p.m.

Israel has seen infection rates fall off a cliff in recent weeks, dropping from around 9,000 a day to under 1,000.

On Saturday night, the Health Ministry announced that there had been fewer than 700 new cases on Friday, representing 2.6% of all tests.

As of 10 p.m., only 196 new cases had been recorded Saturday, which generally sees much lower testing numbers and lower new infection tallies as a result.

While Health Ministry figures weren’t immediately available Sunday morning, Hebrew-language media cited data released by the National Security Council that showed just 5,651 tests were performed Saturday, of which 202 came back positive, a rate of 3.6%, which would be the highest since Monday.

The data showed active cases had dropped to 15,705, including 548 in serious condition of whom 218 are on ventilators. The reported death toll remained at 2,372.

Israel moved its clocks backward one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

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