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Number of active coronavirus cases in Israel rises above 4,000

257 new infections recorded over past day; Health Ministry says 32 people on ventilators, though National Security Council puts figure at 28

A Sion Medical workers makes protective masks at the company's factory in the southern city of Sderot on June 17, 2020. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
A Sion Medical workers makes protective masks at the company's factory in the southern city of Sderot on June 17, 2020. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

The number of active coronavirus cases passed 4,000 Thursday morning as the Health Ministry reported 257 new infections over the past 24 hours.

Of the 19,894 infections recorded since the start of the pandemic, the ministry said 4,092 were active cases, including 148 people being treated at hospitals around the country.

Among the sick, 39 were in serious condition, 32 of whom were on ventilators. That was up from 27 people requiring ventilation Wednesday morning, though separate figures from the National Security Council put the number of people on ventilators at 28.

The Health Ministry said another 44 people were in moderate condition and the rest had mild symptoms.

No new fatalities were reported, with the death toll remaining at 303.

Doctors treat a patient at the coronavirus unit at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, May 4, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel has seen a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, after a sustained drop in the daily infection rate saw the government ease many of the restrictions put in place to contain the virus.

Despite the rise, the so-called coronavirus cabinet on Wednesday approved the resumption of train services for Monday. Trains have been halted for three months and the date for resuming service has been postponed several times.

Ministers also approved the reopening of cultural venues, which could be permitted to open as soon as the weekend.

A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said events will be capped at 250 people, the same as for religious ceremonies such as weddings, though the Culture Ministry can grant special approval for events up to 500 people.

While most industries have been able to get back to work in recent weeks, large gatherings, particularly in closed spaces, were still banned. This has left theaters, concert halls and other venues shuttered and kept artists, producers and support staff out of work.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Wednesday that his office backed reopening the trains and cultural venues, but warned the public they will both be shut down if rules are not kept.

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