Number of Israelis infected with coronavirus rises to 2,693

Figure up 324 since Wednesday; Health Minister Litzman attacked for favoring ultra-Orthodox sector over general public in management of crisis

Medical personnel cleanse and disinfectian ambulance at Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama hotel which has been turned into coronavirus quarantine facility, March 26, 2020. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)
Medical personnel cleanse and disinfectian ambulance at Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama hotel which has been turned into coronavirus quarantine facility, March 26, 2020. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

The number of Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus has risen to 2,693, the Health Ministry said Thursday evening. Eight people have died, three of them in the past 24 hours, 46 are in serious condition and 67 are in moderate condition.

The figure is an increase of 324 over Wednesday and 27 since the morning’s figures were released.

Some 45 Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, while 4,156 are in quarantine, the IDF said.

One of the three Israelis to die from coronavirus Thursday was an 89-year-old woman being treated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.

“This is a patient with preexisting conditions who a week ago already was categorized as being in critical condition and was treated with devotion during her entire hospitalization by the department staff, which did everything possible to ease her suffering,” the hospital said in a statement.

Health minister Yaakov Litzman speaks during a press conference at the Prime Ministers office in Jerusalem on March 12, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Another of the fatalities was an 83-year-old man from Bnei Brak who had preexisting conditions. Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said earlier that the third victim was a 91-year-old woman.

Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, the director-general of the Health Ministry, told the Knesset’s coronavirus committee that he believes that in a week from now Israel will have 200 people in serious condition from COVID-19.

The next two weeks will be “critical,” Bar Siman-Tov said Thursday, warning there is high potential for further spread of the virus. “We’re really scared of Passover and Ramadan,” he said. “These crowds are the most dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has come under scathing attack from a source in the ministry, according to Channel 12.

Litzman’s management of the crisis is “reminiscent of the failures of the Second Lebanon War,” the unnamed source said. “The explosion we are seeing is a result of restriction having been delayed until after the Purim holiday because of Litzman’s insistence that people be allowed to read the megillah.”

The source went on to accuse Litzman of “operating time and time against the public interest in order to promote the interests of the ultra-Orthodox sector.”

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