Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
People with face masks on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem on September 11, 2020.

Israel reached another grim record this weekend as the number of those who have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus topped 1,100.

The Health Ministry reported Saturday night there were 3,962 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed between Friday and Saturday, out of 43,377 tests conducted on Friday. Of those, 495 were listed in very serious condition, including 138 requiring respirators to survive. The death toll has reached 1,101.

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Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 152,525 Israelis diagnosed with the virus. Of those, 37,926 are current, active cases.

Culture and Sport Ministry director-general Raz Freulich tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report Saturday evening by Ynet. Freulich is in quarantine.

Culture and Sport Minister Hili Tropper tested negative for the virus several days ago but has now entered quarantine following the news that Freulich has tested positive. According to The Jerusalem Post Tropper is to remain in quarantine until next Sunday. He is reported in “good condition.”

Likewise, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel has entered quarantine following the report that one of his staffers has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from his office.

Hendel has reportedly tested negative for the virus.

Govt Cabinet to Ratify Full Lockdown for Friday
The entire State of Israel will enter a full lockdown effective 6 am Friday morning, (schools will close two days earlier, on Wednesday) if the government cabinet ratifies a plan that was approved by the Coronavirus Cabinet this past Thursday.

If approved, only essential businesses will be allowed to continue operating – food stores, pharmacies, optical, hygiene and communications stores, those which carry medical equipment and those which sell essential home products.

Companies will be asked to operate with 30 percent of their staff at the office, although exceptions will be made for those involving essential services.

Private sector firms will be asked to keep 70 percent of their employees working from home. No more than 10 employees or 30 percent of those normally working from the office – whichever is higher – to be present. Essential workplaces may continue operations.

There will be a reduction in public transportation to keep the public at home. Transportation to and from essential workplaces will not be affected.

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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.