The number of coronavirus cases in Israel continues to escalate rapidly as 1,578 people were diagnosed as of Wednesday morning in the previous 24 hours,
The number of active patients rose to 22,704 and the number of seriously ill patients has soared to 195, of whom 57 are ventilated. During the first wave, the highest number of seriously ill patients was 183.
Four more fatalities were recorded, raising the death toll to 375.
The Health Ministry data showed that three hospitals with coronavirus wards are full or even beyond capacity, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, Shamir Medical Center (formerly Assaf Harofeh) in Be’er Yaakov and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
Also, two hospitals are almost full, Shaarei Tzedek in Jerusalem and Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv are both at 82% capacity for coronavirus patients.
The head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat said on Army Radio on Wednesday that the number of seriously ill patients is a threat to the health system and there is serious concern of the health system becoming overwhelmed. “Therefore we need the prime minister’s order to the Finance Ministry to increase the budget for additional manpower for the health system to be implemented immediately,” Ben-Shabbat said.
A tense meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ben-Shabbat, other senior government officials and even former Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov on Tuesday night about what steps to take in light of the skyrocketing infection rate ended without any decisions.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz opposed imposing any further restrictions until enough time has passed to note if the earlier restrictions had any effects. His view was slammed by Likud officials who claimed that Gantz is undermining measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay recommended imposed a limited closure in the evenings and on weekends to decrease the effect on the economy. The prime minister is reportedly taking this suggestion into consideration.
A senior IDF official said on Channel 12 News that the IDF may need to impose a lockdown on its army bases if the increasing infection rate among IDF soldiers begin to affect its operational capabilities.
Another member of Knesset, Minister of Civilian & Social Issues in the Defense Ministry, Michael Biton, (Blue & White), entered quarantine on Tuesday after it was discovered he had been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus carrier.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)