Number of active COVID-19 cases in Israel drops below 5,000, no new deaths

Total infections recorded since start of pandemic hits 16,436; death toll at 245, with country on track to mark 2 weeks since more than 200 new cases were reported in a day

People wear protective face masks as they shop at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv, May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
People wear protective face masks as they shop at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv, May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Health Ministry on Friday evening reported there were fewer than 5,000 people in Israel currently sick with the coronavirus, as the number of Israelis to recover from COVID-19 continued to outpace the rate of new infections.

The death toll from the virus was 245, the same figure reported in the morning, although 5 people died in the last 24 hours.

There were 4,962 people infected with the virus as of Friday evening, out of the 16,436 cases recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic. According to the ministry’s figures, there were 55 new cases over the past 24 hours.

The ministry said 78 people were in serious condition, 63 of whom were on ventilators.

Another 54 Israelis were in moderate condition and the rest had mild symptoms.

So far, 11,229 Israelis have recovered from COVID-19.

People shop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

With the number of new cases steadily dropping, Israel appeared likely to mark two weeks on Saturday night since more than 200 infections were recorded in a 24-hour period.

Amid the sustained drop in infections, the government has increasingly rolled back restrictions meant to curb the outbreak, including opening some schools and allowing many businesses to reopen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that all lockdown restrictions could be removed by the middle of June and the government on Monday canceled the 100-meter limit on Israelis traveling from their homes for activities deemed nonessential, as well as restrictions preventing people from visiting with family.

Malls, outdoor markets and gyms reopened Thursday morning after over six weeks of closure, with shoppers reported at shopping centers throughout the country.

Netanyahu warned, though, that Israel could have to reassess enforcing social distancing measures if there are more than 100 new coronavirus cases a day, a doubling of cases within 10 days, or over 250 people with serious symptoms in hospitals.

Israel’s National Emergency Authority fears a second wave of coronavirus infections and is calling on the government to use the relative lull in cases to prepare hospitals for a substantial increase in respiratory ventilation and treatment capacities.

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