Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed 1,069 new coronavirus cases on Thursday morning, the highest number of daily cases in over a month, with tests showing a positivity rate of 1.8%. The number of active cases is 9,422, the first time in weeks that the number of active cases has surpassed 9,000. There are currently 510 hospitalized patients, of whom 282 are seriously ill and 122 are ventilated. A total of 64 Israelis have passed away over the past week, raising the death toll to 2,826.
A pilot program to reopen malls and shopping centers to the public under strict conditions is slated to begin on Friday with the reopening of 15 malls and shopping centers.
Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy warned on Wednesday that the reopening of malls may lead to a rise in morbidity. However, Prof. Shuki Shemer, the director of Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, has a different view than Levy, saying that he agrees with the government’s plan to try to safely reopen malls.
“There’s really no other choice,” he said in an interview with Radio 103FM on Thursday morning. “We have to learn to live with the coronavirus and return to normal life as much as possible. But unfortunately, many people seem to forget about an extremely basic measure – masks. If 80% of the population wore them, we would soon be rid of this pandemic.”
Prof. Dov. Schwartz of Ben-Gurion University, an adviser to the coronavirus cabinet, warned on Wednesday that Israel is on the brink of a third lockdown.
“We’re heading in the direction of not being able to control the spread and it will lead to a lockdown,” he said. “Everyone is attempting to reopen their industry for their own benefit – the store owners, event hall owners and even the education minister. When these parts all come together, it’s going to lead to an uncontrollable outbreak.”
According to former Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, Israel’s third coronavirus wave is already here, Reshet Bet reported. However, Bar Siman-Tov added that he’s not sure that another lockdown is the most efficient method to curb the infection rate.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)