With four more deaths, Israel’s virus toll climbs to 39, with 7,428 infected
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With four more deaths, Israel’s virus toll climbs to 39, with 7,428 infected

Three men and a woman in their 70s succumb to the disease; 113 patients in serious condition, 96 of them on ventilators

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing, as a preventive measure against the coronavirus evacuate a suspected coronavirus patient to the new coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Jerusalem on April 3, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing, as a preventive measure against the coronavirus evacuate a suspected coronavirus patient to the new coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Jerusalem on April 3, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Three men and a woman in their seventies died of the coronavirus on Friday in Israel, bringing the national death toll from the pandemic to 39, as the number of  diagnosed COVID-19 cases hit 7,428.

The Sheba Medical Center announced the death of a 71-year-old man, who had “significant preexisting illnesses,” on Friday morning.

The second fatality of the day was announced hours later by the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera. The hospital said the 75-year-old man who succumbed to the disease had underlying health issues.

The third man, 79, died at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

Later Friday, A 70-year-old woman with preexisting conditions succumbed to the coronavirus, Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said in a statement.

None of the victims Friday were immediately identified.

The Health Ministry had earlier put the number of deaths at 40, but later said the total number of deaths remained at 39, with one death mistakenly attributed to the coronavirus.

By Friday evening, the Health Ministry said the number of Israelis infected with the coronavirus rose to 7,428.  Ninety-six patients were on ventilators and 113 were in serious condition. At least 403 Israelis have recovered from the disease.

In figures released Friday morning, the ministry said 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.

Thursday saw an additional 10 fatalities.

Among the tally of new cases on Thursday was Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who tested positive along with his wife, Chava, according to a statement from his office early Thursday morning. The diagnosis forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and much of the country’s leadership into quarantine.

The death toll has more than doubled from 16 since Monday, and the number of people on ventilators or in serious condition has also nearly doubled in the last week.

Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said this week that he expects there to eventually be “thousands of dead” in Israel, while another ministry official said Monday that authorities were preparing to have to put 5,000 people on ventilators.

The Magen David Adom national emergency service drive through test complex in Ashdod on April 1, 2020 (Flash90)

Nearly one in seven confirmed coronavirus carriers is from the predominantly ultra-Orthodox central city of Bnei Brak, which has emerged as a major hotspot in 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 the coronavirus in state-run isolation hotels.

The plan will go into effect on Sunday, a spokesman for Defense Minister Naftali Bennett told The Times of Israel Thursday, as ministers were preparing to debate a raft of measures that could place the city under a near-total closure.

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