image Photo: Flash90

Israel’s COVID-19 death rate exceeds 50

The coronavirus contagion continues to spread throughout the State of Israel.

The total number of fatalities has risen to 51, after 15 more Israelis succumbed to the disease.

The number of newly-confirmed cases has soared to 8,611, which is 1,581 more people than on Friday. 141 of the infected individuals have been diagnosed in critical condition, 107 of whom are currently connected to ventilators.

The Ministry of Health is urging the interim government to impose additional restrictions on movement around several predominantly ultra-Orthodox areas in 8 cities where the plague has been particularly high, including Beitar Illit, Elad, Tiberias, Ashkelon, Migdal Ha-Emek, Or Yehuda, Modiin Illit and sections of Beit Shemesh.

The Ministry also requested a general lockdown be implemented on the mostly-religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem where COVID-19 has been particularly rampant, such as Mea Shearim, Geula, Ramot, Har Nof, Givat Shaul, Givat Mordechai, Bayit Vegan, Kiryat Moshe, Bucharim, Ramat Shlomo, Sanhedria, Shmuel HaNavi, Beit Yisrael, Zichron Moshe and Makor Baruch.

As opposed to the absolute closure enforced on the city of Bnei Brak outside Tel Aviv, exit and entrance to the afore-mentioned communities would still be permitted for people whose jobs are considered to be vital.

The special ministerial committee tasked with combating the outbreak continues to deliberate additional measures under the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as authorities undertake every effort to enforce public compliance with government measures.

The Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit informed TV7 that so far, 12,936 civilians have received fines of ₪5,000 shekels (equivalent to €1,277 or $1,387) for violating the government’s restrictive measures. Hundreds of roadblocks and check points have been set up by police throughout the country. Significant traffic jams have resulted, particularly on Highway 1, which is Israel’s main artery between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Some drivers have experienced delays of more than 3 hours when trying to reach the capital, including medical personnel en route to Jerusalem hospitals.

A confirmed coronavirus carrier was apprehended and detained after he blatantly disregarded quarantine restrictions and boarded a bus limited for transporting IDF soldiers to Jerusalem. Acting on information provided by Israel’s intelligence agency, the police stopped the bus and detained the suspect. Police Superintendent David Mizrahi informed the other passengers in the vehicle that they must now enter a two-week quarantine after having come into contact with the negligent individual, which has been just one of many such instances.

Several synagogues in Jerusalem and Modi’in Illit were also found to be violating orders against large gatherings, including attendance by dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Police Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told TV7 that the crowd was fined and “dispersed’ to their homes.

In related developments, an airlift of 11 cargo planes is now in the process of transporting essential protective gear from China to Israel. The cooperative mission is being carried out by the Defense and Foreign Ministries with the El Al Israel Airlines national carrier and the Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL). Millions of items set to be delivered include masks, ventilators and other critical equipment. The Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Unit noted that “the completion of preparations” will be ongoing “over a period of two weeks, including procurement agreements, diplomatic efforts and logistical arrangements.” A Defense Ministry statement also underlined that the supplies will be distributed to medical teams across the Jewish State.