In new high, 2,136 coronavirus cases recorded over 24 hours

Of 32,060 active cases, 273 people in serious condition, including 78 on ventilators; health, culture ministries give okay for drive-in concerts

A medic collects a swab sample from a man at a coronavirus testing facility in Or Yehuda, on July 22, 2020. (Jack Guez/ AFP)
A medic collects a swab sample from a man at a coronavirus testing facility in Or Yehuda, on July 22, 2020. (Jack Guez/ AFP)

Health Ministry figures released Wednesday evening showed 2,136 new coronavirus cases were recorded since the previous evening, the highest 24-hour figure recorded in Israel since the start of the pandemic.

According to the ministry, of the 32,060 active cases, there were 273 people in serious condition, including 78 on ventilators. There were another 120 people in moderate condition, while the rest had mild or no symptoms.

There were no new fatalities reported, with the death toll remaining at 430.

The rise in new cases brought the number of total infections to 55,695. There are 23,205 Israelis who have recovered from the virus.

The Health Ministry said 29,077 COVID-19 tests were performed Tuesday.

People wearing face masks walk at Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem on July 21, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The latest increase in infections came as the government has increasingly tightened restrictions to contain the outbreak, with growing warnings that Israel could be headed toward a renewed lockdown. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said earlier this month the government could reimpose a lockdown if there are 2,000 new cases a day.

The Knesset was on track to pass legislation later Wednesday that would grant the government sweeping emergency powers to impose far-reaching restrictions to combat the virus and limit parliamentary oversight over coalition decisions.

Also Wednesday, the health and culture ministries announced that they have reached an agreement to allow drive-in concerts, in which concert-goers will be required to stay in their vehicles at venues.

Illustrative: People watch the showing of the film ‘Back to the Future’ from inside their cars at a drive-in in Mexico City, July 17, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Capacity at such concerts will be capped at 200 cars, with a two-meter distance between all vehicles. Up to 10 performers will be allowed on stage and all of them must wear masks, besides singers and musicians who play wind instruments, who must be seven meters apart from others.

People will be allowed to go to the bathroom in a regulated manner, with the approval of ushers working at the venues.

The culture and entertainment industries have been among the hardest hit sectors of the economy due to the tight restrictions on gatherings. While concerts with up to 250 people in attendance were approved by the government last month, the government has since limited gatherings to 20 people outside and 10 indoors, due to the continued rise in new infections.

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