Israel’s recovered virus patients now at double the number of active cases

Health Ministry figures point to a country rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, even as experts warn of a possible second wave

Illustrative: A recovered coronavirus patient (center) donating plasma for Israel's experimental antibodies treatment, and (right) Eilat Shinar. (Magen David Adom)
Illustrative: A recovered coronavirus patient (center) donating plasma for Israel's experimental antibodies treatment, and (right) Eilat Shinar. (Magen David Adom)

Israel’s national convalescence continued on Thursday, with the release of Health Ministry data showing that twice as many people have recovered from coronavirus as are currently infected with the virus.

No one died between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, leaving the national death toll at 239.

According to the latest ministry statistics, 10,737 people have recovered while the number of active cases now stands at 5,370.

Currently, 83 patients are in serious condition, with 69 of those on ventilators, while 61 are in moderate condition.

In recent days, Israel’s infection rate has dropped off significantly, with the number of new cases over 24-hour periods consistently measuring in the dozens.

Wednesday saw the lowest number of new infections yet, with only 21 cases reported.

Over the weekend Channel 12 reported that 80 percent of Israeli towns and villages had reported no new COVID-19 cases for several days.

People in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem after it reopened according to the new government orders, May 7, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hospitals in Jerusalem and Ashdod have begun closing coronavirus wards as the number of patients has declined.

Health Ministry statistics have indicated that Jerusalem, the city that has seen the most coronavirus cases, was joining other cities in managing to bring its infection rate down.

Despite the positive trend, the city has decided not to restart education in the ultra-Orthodox schools yet, Channel 12 news reported. Most of the hardest hit neighborhoods were Haredi areas.

Some 80% of elementary schools reopened for grades 1-3 and 11-12 on Sunday for the first time in seven weeks, even as many parents expressed concerns over safety. About 60% of the eligible schoolchildren, reportedly some 180,000, went to school Sunday.

With the number of new infections dropping, the government has increasingly rolled back restrictions meant to curb the outbreak, and on Monday canceled the 100-meter limit on Israelis traveling from their homes for activities deemed nonessential.

It also ended restrictions preventing people from visiting with family and approved the reopening of malls and outdoor markets on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that all lockdown restrictions could be removed by the middle of June.

Israeli students in Jerusalem wear protective face masks as they return to school for the first time since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. May 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

He 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.

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

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.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, the authority has prepared a model that forecasts a second wave of infections at around the time of the Jewish new year, which this year falls in mid-September.

According to the forecast, the number of cases could be at least twice as bad, reaching tens of thousands, with thousands hospitalized and deaths estimated between several hundred and the low thousands.

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