Israel surpasses China in total coronavirus cases as 1,766 new ones confirmed

Death toll rises by 3 to 622, far less than China’s; 375 people are in serious condition as daily testing numbers continue to slump below 24,000

People walk with face masks on Jaffa street in Jerusalem on August 10, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
People walk with face masks on Jaffa street in Jerusalem on August 10, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Health Ministry figures released late Tuesday revealed that 1,766 new cases  of coronavirus were confirmed over the past 24 hours, during which Israel passed China in the total amount of reported cases.

The total number of cases in Israel since the start of the pandemic rose to 86,147 — 1,435 more than the number in China. However, Beijing has been accused of concealing the true scope of the pandemic in the country, and the case count is widely believed to have been far higher there. Still, China’s population is nearly 160 times larger than Israel’s.

The Health Ministry’s Tuesday evening figures showed three more deaths since this morning, raising the national toll to 622. Israel lags well behind China in deaths, with 4,634 confirmed there.

Of the 25,468 active cases, 375 people are in serious condition, with 110 on ventilators, the Health Ministry said Tuesday. Another 170 are in moderate condition and the rest had mild or no symptoms.

The Health Ministry said 23,982 tests were performed Monday and 17,394  were carried out thus far on Tuesday — a continuation of the significant drop from numbers toward the end of last month, which neared 30,000.

Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu expressed concern earlier Tuesday over declining testing levels and implored the public to get tested, warning of “hidden morbidity.”

People wearing face masks for fear of coronavirus walk in Jerusalem’s Old City on August 10, 2020. Israel has seen a spike of new COVID-19 cases bringing the authorities to reimpose restrictions to halt the spread of the virus. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The senior health official suggested that some of the decrease could be attributed to Israelis’ hesitance to get tested.

“There is also a situation in which people are afraid to be tested for all sorts of reasons,” he said, adding that the trend “worries” him.

The numbers came after fresh restrictions went into effect Tuesday morning that continue to cap gatherings at 20 people outdoors and 10 indoors, limit cars to three (non family) passengers at a time, and limit businesses to one customer on the premises for every seven square meters (75 square feet) of space.

Businesses will be prohibited from serving customers who are not wearing masks, must take the temperature of those who ask to enter the premises, and must post signs detailing appropriate behavior.

Shared eating spaces in open-air markets and in shopping malls will be closed. Deliveries must be left outside recipients’ doors.

The new restrictions offer bad news for many business owners, extending the closures of bars, nightclubs, water parks, event halls and other recreational sites.

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