With intense heat wave next week, Israelis urged to stay cool and hydrated

Temperatures predicted to be above usual for time of year; elderly and coronavirus sufferers in particular advised to stay indoors and drink plenty of water

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

People wearing face masks due to the coronavirus outbreak enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
People wearing face masks due to the coronavirus outbreak enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel will swelter under a heat wave next week with extreme temperatures, the Health Ministry warned on Thursday, urging elderly people and those suffering from the coronavirus to take particular care.

Citing a report from the Meteorological Service, the ministry said in a statement that on July 26-31 the weather will be hot or even “extremely hot,” with temperatures above normal for the time of year and heat waves seen in most areas of the country.

The ministry urged the public to avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible, avoid outdoor physical exertion, take care to drink water, and spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned environments.

“The elderly and those sick with the coronavirus in particular” should take care to abide by the instructions, the statement said.

According to the Meteorological Service website, temperatures in Jerusalem were set to hit 36° Celsius (97° Fahrenheit) on Sunday and the following days. In Tel Aviv the temperature was forecast to reach 30-32°C (86-89.6°F), in Haifa 28-29°C (82-84°F) and in Eilat 41-44°C (106-111°F).

The ministry statement added that the population should also take particular care to adhere to guidelines aimed at curbing the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, including wearing face masks and social distancing.

By highlighting the need to continue wearing face masks, the ministry appeared to be clarifying that it would not repeat a temporary suspension of the face mask rule granted in May, during a heat wave that scorched the country for several days.

Next Thursday marks the Hebrew date of the the 9th of Av, which is observed by Orthodox Jews as a 25-hour-long fast day, beginning at dusk the night before, to commemorate the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.

After initially bringing down daily virus infection rates to low double digits during a lockdown begun in mid-March Israel gradually lifted most restrictions, but then saw infection rates soar to over 2,000 new cases a day. The government has begun reintroducing restrictions on gatherings and the Health Ministry has threatened there may be a need to resort to another lockdown to curb the spike.

Ministry figures released Thursday morning showed 2,085 new coronavirus cases were recorded the previous day, with the number of seriously ill people climbing by 36 in the previous 24 hours.

According to the ministry, of the 32,755 active cases, there were 295 people in serious condition, including 79 on ventilators. There were another 131 people in moderate condition, while the rest had mild or no symptoms.

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