Israel announces 4th, 5th deaths in pandemic; 2,170 diagnosed with coronavirus

76-year-old man dies at Sheba Medical Center, reportedly had prior serious health issues before COVID-19 infection; 5th fatality said to be man, 87, who tested positive after death

Ambulance workers transfer a woman with suspected COVID-19 at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2020. (Flash90)
Ambulance workers transfer a woman with suspected COVID-19 at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2020. (Flash90)

The Health Ministry on Wednesday morning said that five people have now died in Israel in the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer announced the death of a 76-year-old man, Israel’s fourth fatality from COVID-19.

The man reportedly had serious health issues before he contracted the virus. He was not immediately named.

According to Hebrew media reports, the fifth victim was an 87-year-old man who arrived at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak on Tuesday with breathing difficulties. He was tested after he died and diagnosed with the coronavirus.

A medical worker in protective gear at Hadassah Hospital Ein Karem in Jerusalem handles a coronavirus test sample on March 24, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Health Ministry announced Wednesday afternoon that the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in Israel is now 2,170, an increase of 240 since Tuesday, which had seen the largest single-day jump in cases since the crisis began.

According to the ministry, 37 people with COVID-19 are in serious condition, and 54 are in moderate condition. Another 1,876 people have mild symptoms.

There have now been 58 Israelis who have recovered from the virus.

Of those who are infected, 203 are being treated in hospitals, 927 are at home and 203 are in hotels that have been repurposed as coronavirus wards.

The rise in cases has come alongside a boost in the number of tests for the virus, with 5,067 people tested between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning. On Tuesday morning the ministry said it had tested 3,743 in the previous 24-hour period.

Over 63,000 Israelis are in quarantine, down from nearly 75,000 reported Monday. In total, over 140,000 have spent time in self-isolation.

Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center announced Tuesday evening the death of Israel’s third victim of the virus, an 87-year-old man.

The man was brought to the hospital earlier this week from the sheltered living center where he lived, after testing positive for the virus, the hospital said. He had a series of underlying medical issues, including diabetes and dementia, it added in a statement.

He was the second resident of the Nofim Tower assisted living facility in Jerusalem to succumb to the illness. The first was Aryeh Even, 88, who died on Friday.

Malka Keva, 67, on March 24, 2020 became the second fatality in Israel from the coronavirus pandemic (via Facebook)

Also on Tuesdsay, Malka Keva, a 67-year-old woman from the coastal city of Bat Yam, died of the coronavirus in Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, the hospital said.

Keva suffered from “a serious preexisting medical condition,” according to the hospital. Several years ago, she fell ill with cancer and had been in a weakened state when she contracted the virus.

Israel is in 20th place on a list of cases by countries hit by the virus, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University virus website, which collates information on the global outbreak. China remains at the top, followed by Italy, the US, and Spain.

Israel on Wednesday was set to announce drastic new restrictions on public movement it hopes will help stanch the spread of the virus, though policy experts expect any effect to only be seen in 10 days or more.

Israeli officials approved the new restrictions to stem the outbreak in the early hours of Wednesday morning after some six hours of deliberations.

Israelis walk their dogs and do sports in park haYarkon in Tel Aviv on March 22, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

According to reports, the new regulations will include a ban on outdoor exercise and a limit on residents from strolling more than 100 meters away from their homes.

They could also see new restrictions on restaurant takeout, and public transportation further scaled back if not halted entirely.

The Prime Minister’s Office said shortly after midnight Wednesday that remote schooling would resume this week after a dispute over teachers’ salaries halted classes for nearly a week.

The Health Ministry has already ordered the public to stay indoors unless necessary and banned gatherings of more than 10 people. Universities, schools, kindergartens, and leisure sites have all been closed.

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