Health Ministry ranks virus risk for activities as daily cases hold below 800

Clubbing listed as most dangerous, followed by going to concerts, houses of worship, sporting events, indoor bars and restaurants

Jerusalem residents play backgammon in the city center on June 30, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Jerusalem residents play backgammon in the city center on June 30, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry on Monday ranked daily activities in terms of their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, with clubbing at the very top of the list, and outdoor exercise and ordering takeout carrying a low risk.

Nightclubs reopened last month and had been allowed to host as many as 250 people before lawmakers voted on Sunday to lower the limit to 50, stopping short of closing such establishments entirely.

The Health Ministry’s color-coded ranking took into account whether social distancing, mask-wearing, and maintaining personal hygiene were required in the various listed activities.

Following nightclubs on the Health Ministry’s ranking was attending concerts, entering houses of worship, attending sporting events and dining in indoor bars and indoor restaurants — all of which were designated as posing a high risk of contracting COVID-19.

Jewish men pray with face masks at the burial site of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Mount Meron, in northern Israel, on July 4, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Attending weddings, neglecting to wear a mask, eating in a cafeteria, playing in an outdoor playground, hugging and shaking hands were deemed as slightly less dangerous but were still flagged as high-risk activities.

Taking a flight, eating at an outdoor restaurant, using public transportation, working out at a gym, bowling, visiting a grandparent in their home and playing basketball were listed as slightly less dangerous activity.

Going to a movie theater, a school, a casino, an office, a hair salon or a playground were ranked as moderately risky.

Using a public pool, going to the mall, using a public bathroom, having a barbecue outside one’s home and staying at a hotel were all ranked as presenting a minor-to-moderate risk.

People on the beach in Tel Aviv, on July 01, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Lower down on the list were: Being hosted in someone else’s home, going to a doctor’s appointment, eating outside the home, going to the supermarket, going to the beach and walking through a bustling street.

Children playing together, using the bathroom in another person’s house, going to a gas station, camping or a museum were all placed further down the list in the “low-risk” category.

The two activities deemed as presenting the smallest risk of exposure to the virus were outdoor physical activity and ordering takeout food.

The ranking was released as the Health Ministry published its morning round of coronavirus case numbers, showing 796 new cases since Sunday morning.

The number of total cases climbed to 30,162, with 11,856 of them being active, Ninety of the patients were in serious condition with 32 of them on ventilators, while 82 people were in moderate condition. By comparison, on June 4, just over a month ago, Israel had a total of 30 people in serious condition, including 23 on ventilators.

Another person died of the virus, bringing the death toll to 332.

Police officers patrol in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on July 5, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry conducted 18,946 tests on Sunday and had already conducted 2,784 tests by late Monday morning.

The figures also showed that 94% of the cases diagnosed Sunday were of individuals below the age of 65. However, 65% of all seriously ill patients were above the age of 65.

The number of new seriously ill patients in the first six days of July alone was 64 — nearly double the number of the entire month of May (38) and more than half the number from June (103).

Israel has seen cases of COVID-19 reach new levels in recent days, leading the government to reconsider its May rollback of virus restrictions, which saw almost all limits on gatherings rescinded.

On Monday morning, new rules limiting the number of people allowed into synagogues, bars, and event halls to 50 went into effect. Those regulations do not apply to restaurants, offices, malls or other retail centers.

Later Monday, the cabinet will meet to discuss reimposing additional restrictions on restaurants and cultural events, as the number of virus cases soared to nearly 1,000 per day.

According to a Channel 12 report, the Health Ministry will encourage the government to shut down event halls, synagogues, religious seminaries and gyms in addition to further restrictions at restaurants and on public transportation.

The expectation is that ministers will fight these requests and that only some of them will be approved, the network said, adding that the health officials have dropped plans to call for closing beaches and hotels.

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