Israel sees 400 new infections in last 24 hours; 5 deaths, all aged 80+
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Israel sees 400 new infections in last 24 hours; 5 deaths, all aged 80+

Health Ministry figures showed that 2,135 were infected this week, more than number for all of May; officials to step up enforcement

Bat Yam Municipality Inspector patrol at the beach in the Israeli coastal town of Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, after it was closed following the spread of the coronavirus, June 26, 2020. (Flash90)
Bat Yam Municipality Inspector patrol at the beach in the Israeli coastal town of Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, after it was closed following the spread of the coronavirus, June 26, 2020. (Flash90)

The latest data from the Health Ministry Friday evening showed 400 new infections over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally to 22,800. The number of active cases stood at 5,614.

Meanwhile, five more people — all aged 80 and over — died of the virus, taking the death toll to 314.

There were 46 people in serious condition, 28 of whom were on ventilators. Another 48 people in moderate condition, with the rest experiencing only mild symptoms or asymptomatic.

The numbers appeared to continue the rising trend in infection rates, with recent days showing 400-500 new patients a day on average, numbers not seen since early April.

The figures showed that 2,135 were infected this week, more than the number for all of May.

Channel 12 reported that police and inspectors throughout the country were engaged in increased enforcement Friday, handing out fines to those breaking Health Ministry guidelines, including businesses not adhering to rules and people failing to wear masks while in public.

The operation was particularly focused on recreational venues such as restaurants, cafes, event halls which are more prone to mass gatherings and a lack of social distancing.

Meanwhile, 10 staff and nine residents at a nursing home in Ahva, near Ashdod, were diagnosed with the virus, causing fears of further infections. Staff members apparently caught the virus from a driver ferrying them to work. Everyone at the facility has now been tested.

According to a Haaretz report, 160 workers at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center outside Dimona were quarantined after two workers were diagnosed with the virus.

With the number of cases continuing to rise, cabinet ministers on Thursday approved a week-long extension of the lockdown of a neighborhood in the southern Bedouin town of Arara, which has the highest infection rate per capita of any community in Israel.

Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy was also set to approve restrictions for a number of other communities that have recently seen a rise in coronavirus cases.

A Magen David Adom worker arrives to test a patient with symptoms of coronavirus in Jerusalem on June 23, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In the Bedouin city of Rahat and Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood, limitations put in place were to be removed but enforcement of social-distancing guidelines will be stepped up, according to a Health Ministry statement.

Three neighborhoods in the southern city of Ashdod will face restrictions, with educational institutions there ordered closed and gatherings of over 10 people banned.

Many educational institutions will be ordered closed in the central coastal city of Bat Yam, where gatherings of over 10 people will also be banned. The ministry said there would also be increased enforcement in Bat Yam at weddings and other unspecified places.

There are particular concerns about Bat Yam because it has a relatively older population in comparison with other outbreak areas.

File: Workers wearing protective clothes disinfect a public playground in Bat Yam, on March 18, 2020 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The latest jump in new infections came after experts reportedly warned ministers the country was on the brink of “losing control” over the renewed outbreak.

In a bid to stop the increase, the Knesset on Wednesday night advanced a bill to reinstate the Shin Bet surveillance program aimed at tracking virus carriers and those exposed to them — despite the opposition of the agency itself to the move.

In addition, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the IDF’s Home Front Command to open additional hotels for coronavirus patients and for quarantine purposes. The army is currently running six facilities for those infected and those who cannot adequately self-isolate at home.

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