There are 2,666 Israelis with the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon with 39 in serious condition and 68 in moderate condition, Israel’s Health Ministry announced. A total of 5,240 Israelis were tested for the virus in the past 24 hours.
Israel recorded three more deaths on Thursday afternoon, including a 91-year old woman who passed away at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. The information about the other two fatalities is not yet available.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Israelis in a live broadcast on Wednesday night that the government will have no alternative but to impose a full lockdown within a few days if the number of coronavirus patients continues to rise.
“‘Whoever saves one life, it’s like he saved an entire world’ but regarding the coronavirus: ‘Whoever infects one person, it’s like he infected the entire world,'” Netanyahu said in his speech.
The prime minister implored the Israeli public to stay at home, saying: “Whoever stays at home will remain alive. The coronavirus doesn’t differentiate between someone who goes bareheaded or someone who wears a kippah or between someone who wears a kippah and someone who wears a kaffiyeh. Everyone must adhere to the restrictions. V’nishmartem me’od nafshoseichim.”
“If you don’t guard yourselves and your families there will be a travesty here,” Netanyahu asserted. “I have no other way to describe it. Simply don’t leave your homes.”
— זק״א (@zakaHQ) March 19, 2020
“We are in a situation where the number of sick is doubling every three days,” Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said on Thursday at the first meeting of the new Knesset Coronavirus Committee. Bar Siman Tov added that he doesn’t like the word lockdown but Israel is close to a full closure. “This event is a tsunami that could not have been adequately prepared for.”
A Health Ministry official, Dr. Boaz Levy, the head of the ministry’s pandemic department, told Kan News on Thursday morning that there is no reason to believe that Israel will have to deny patients use of life-saving ventilators, saying that there are currently about 4,000 ventilators in Israel. “We won’t get to a situation that [we] need to choose who to administer artificial respiration,” he said.
However, later on Thursday morning a Knesset’s Research and Information Center report said that there are currently only 2,137 ventilators in Israel, 1,437 of which are not yet in use. Israeli news outlets quickly produced headlines of “Only 1,437 spare ventilators in Israel” and “Shortage of ventilators in Israel.” However, shortly later, the Health Ministry stated that contrary to the Knesset committee’s report, Israel has 2,864 spare ventilators.
A month-old baby in Haifa tested positive for the coronavirus this week and was admitted to Rambam Medical Center along with the mother, also positive for the virus. The hospital said the baby is in light condition and the mother is asymptomatic.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)