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Israel’s new daily COVID-19 infections dive below 50; death toll rise to 230

Just 41 confirmed cases in past 24 hours; overnight fatality was 22nd resident of nursing home in Yavne’el to die; 82 on ventilators; only 6,329 currently have disease

Medical personel in protective gear bring a patient suspected of having the coronavirus to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Medical personel in protective gear bring a patient suspected of having the coronavirus to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

One person died from COVID-19 overnight, taking the national death toll to 230 on Sunday morning, as the number of daily infections dipped below 50.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that the 86-year-old man was a resident at the Yokra nursing home in Yavne’el, making him the 22nd fatality from that facility. It was the third death from the virus nationwide over the previous 24 hours.

According to the Health Ministry, there were just 41 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. However, testing rates could be depressed over the weekend.

The total number of virus cases in the country was recorded at 16,193, but with a majority of those having recovered from the illness, those currently diagnosed as sick stood at 6,329.

The medical team at the coronavirus unit in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, April 27, 2020 (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Of those infected, 103 were in serious condition, of whom 82 were on ventilators. Sixty-six people were in moderate condition, while the rest were experiencing mild symptoms.

On Wednesday, the number of Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19 surpassed those who are sick for the first time since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continues.

Israel’s infection rate has dropped off significantly, with the number of new cases over 24-hour periods consistently falling below 200 since last Sunday evening.

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

As the infection rate declined, the government has begun easing restrictions on commerce and movement, including allowing many businesses to reopen and lifting the limit on the distance Israelis can exercise from their homes.

Israelis on the beach promenade and beach in Tel Aviv, May 1, 2020 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Health Ministry considers the coming week to be crucial for determining a time frame for further reopening the economy. Officials will gauge the effects of recent reopening measures to make their decisions going forward.

On Sunday morning, many schools opened for the first time since mid-March, though confusion about guidelines for reopening schools and fears of a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus meant that many pupils would be spending another day at home.

Despite the go-ahead, numerous cities and local authorities said they would delay a return to classrooms amid growing dissatisfaction over the government’s handling of the matter, with unclear rules in place and unanswered questions about technical aspects of the school openings.

Israeli child wearing face mask before heading to school in Moshav Yashresh, on May 3, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Elementary schools were given the green light to bring back students in first through third grades, and in ultra-Orthodox schools students in grades 7-12 headed back to the classroom.

Meanwhile, preschools, daycares and kindergartens were only expected to reopen on May 10 after an assessment of the situation.

Ministers are set to convene Sunday to discuss easing additional restrictions, namely lifting the limit of 100 meters Israelis can go from their homes if not for a specifically permitted activity, according to media reports.

However, police on Friday reportedly expressed concern over the flouting of social distancing rules after thousands of Israelis took advantage of the warm weather to spend time outside, heading to beaches in Tel Aviv and Herzliya. Many were not keeping to social distancing rules and not wearing masks. Others thronged to markets to shop ahead of Shabbat or were just spending time in outdoor spaces.

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