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Daily new COVID-19 cases in Israel back over 2,000 as testing boosted

Total tally reaches 110,186, according to Health Ministry data; 6 new deaths take toll to 883

A healthcare worker takes samples from Israelis to test them for the coronavirus at a mobile testing station in the central city of Ramle, August 18, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
A healthcare worker takes samples from Israelis to test them for the coronavirus at a mobile testing station in the central city of Ramle, August 18, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

New daily confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel topped 2,000 on Thursday for the first time in weeks, as testing levels got a significant boost.

The Health Ministry confirmed 2,132 new cases between Wednesday evening and Thursday evening, bringing the total number to 110,186, of which 21,589 are active.

Of those sick, 410 were in serious condition, 115 of them on ventilators, and 170 were in moderate condition. The rest had mild or no symptoms.

The ministry reported six more coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 883.

The number of daily tests passed the 30,000 mark for the second day in a row on Wednesday, according to the ministry. It said 33,028 test results came back Wednesday, of which 5.9 percent returned positive.

A non-final number of tests for Thursday was 23,614, with a similar positive rate.

Israeli students wear protective face masks as they return to school for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, on May 3, 2020, in Jerusalem. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

On Wednesday night, legislation to grant funding to schools to deal with the pandemic did not reach a planned Knesset vote, after the coalition apparently failed to gather enough lawmakers to support the bill ahead of a week-long summer recess.

The vote will now be delayed until after the school year begins on September 1, since the Knesset began its vacation on Wednesday night.

Also on Wednesday, Ukraine announced it would seal its borders to foreigners through September to curb rising coronavirus infections, blocking Israeli and Jewish pilgrims from traveling to the city of Uman for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu at an inauguration ceremony of a Health Ministry command center near Ben Gurion Airport, August 26, 2020. (GPO)

The announcement of the entry ban came after coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to prevent the pilgrimage, fearing returning pilgrims could drive up infection rates in the Jewish state.

Last week, ministers refused for a third time to approve Gamzu’s “traffic light” plan, reportedly due to opposition from ultra-Orthodox ministers, who oppose restrictions that could shutter synagogues in high-infection areas.

Gamzu’s plan outlines restrictions to be imposed during the High Holiday period, which begins next month.

The plan would only place restrictions on cities with high morbidity rates, where the rate of infection is not slowed by September 10. The restrictions would take effect starting from Rosh Hashanah until October 11, after the Sukkot holiday.

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