Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
COVID-19 novel coronavirus test sample

The number of newly-diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, is continuing skyrocket in Israel as a second wave of the pandemic becomes all but inevitable in the Jewish State.

On Saturday night, the Israeli Health Ministry reported there were 294 new cases of the virus within the past 24 hours; one more person died over the past day, bring the death toll to a total of 305 Israelis killed by the virus.

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An elementary school in the Halamish neighborhood of the northern Negev city of Arad announced its closure effective Sunday (June 21) after a child in the school tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Parents of children were notified Saturday night to quarantine all students at home, and faculty and staff were advised to self-quarantine likewise, until further notice. The Education and Health Ministries both made the decision to close the school.

Sixteen people at the “Gil Ha’Zahav (Golden Age) Nursing Home” in Jerusalem – 14 residents and two foreign workers – were among those who tested positive for the virus on Saturday evening. All were hospitalized for further treatment following their diagnoses.

On Friday there were even more newly diagnosed cases – a total of 349 Israelis had become ill with COVID-19 in a 24 hour period – the highest number since April.

At present the number of active coronavirus cases has reached 4,668 Israelis who are ill with the virus.

As of Saturday, the total number of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Israel since the start of the pandemic stood at 20,533.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected submit a request on Sunday to an emergency meeting of the government coronavirus cabinet for the renewal of a tracking program involving the use of personal data by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, in order to keep tabs on coronavirus carriers and those who become exposed to the virus.

The program was used successfully to prevent the spread of the virus during the first wave of the pandemic in Israel. It was concluded earlier this month, however, because it was not enshrined in law; legislators were divided over the life-saving value of the program as weighed against the violation of citizens’ privacy deemed necessary in order to carry it out.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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