The Health Ministry announced Saturday that there are now 7,851 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, up by 423 from 24 hours ago.
There are 126 people are in serious condition, 108 of whom are on ventilators, the ministry said.
A total of 458 people have recovered from the virus while 43 have died, three of them on Saturday, the ministry said. Some Hebrew media reports put the total death toll at 44.
Two women died of the virus in the morning: an 88-year-old woman at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and a 67-year-old woman at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center. A man, 76, died at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon close to noon.
The 88-year-old was the fifth victim to come from the Mishan assisted living facility in the southern city of Beersheba.
She was later named as Holocaust survivor Dr. Nelia Kravitz, 88, who worked as a physician at Soroka Medical Center for 20 years.
“It was not possible to contact the Mishan facility, and only later were we informed she was transferred to Soroka. We said goodbye to her over the telephone,” Kravitz’s son Micha told the Kan public broadcaster.
On Friday four people — three men and one woman — died of the virus, all of them in their 70s.
In figures released Friday morning, the ministry said the highest number of cases was recorded in Jerusalem (1,003), followed by the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak (966) and Tel Aviv-Jaffa (335). Bnei Brak, one-quarter the size of the capital by population, was closed off by police on Friday morning to stem the outbreak.
The Israeli military was preparing to remove some 4,500 people over the age of 80 from Bnei Brak, placing those residents most at risk from contracting the coronavirus in state-run isolation hotels.
A senior Health Ministry official on Saturday called for additional areas in Israel with a high number of cases to be declared restricted zones, allowing the government to further curtail movement in these places in a bid to limit the virus’s spread.
Among the cities the official cited to Hebrew media were several with predominantly ultra-Orthodox populations, such as Elad and the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit, as well as several Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.
However, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov also struck a cautiously optimistic note on Saturday, following reports that officials believe the current rate of infection in the country is rising at a relatively controlled rate and shows signs of remaining within levels that the health system can tolerate.
“The fact that we are holding discussions about an exit strategy from the crisis is a privilege,” he said.