Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
Magen David Adom medical workers test residents of South Tel Aviv at a temporary built site to collect samples for coronavirus, in South Tel Aviv on June 02, 2020.

Over the past week, at least 122 of those diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Israel were foreign workers, according to a report by Hebrew-language News 12 television news team.

It is believed that many of those workers are from the Tel Aviv area, where 66 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past three days. (There were 32 new patients diagnosed in Jerusalem and 16 patients diagnosed in the Gaza border city of Sderot.)

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There are deep concerns over the crowded conditions under which these foreign workers live. Many work in hotels, restaurants and similar venues — all of which are places in which it is easy to spread the virus anew, creating further risk to others.

A third concern is the fact that many of the foreign workers are also caring for the elderly, who are known to be especially vulnerable to the virus; another risk.

169 New COVID-19 Cases Diagnosed Monday
According to the Israel’s Health Ministry, there are now a total of 18,032 individuals who are sick with COVID-19 in the country, including 2,607 active cases.

There were 169 new patients from Sunday to Monday, the highest 24-hour jump in weeks. From Saturday night to Sunday, the number of new patients was 111.

A total of 15,102 Israelis have recovered from the virus; 298 Israelis have lost their lives. According to the Health Ministry, 13 people died of COVID-19 in Israel just in the past week.

At present, there are 29 Israelis who are in very serious condition and are being treated in the nation’s intensive care units; of those, 23 require ventilator support.

The number of daily new cases has remained steady at an average of around 100 for the past eight days.

Some Schools Reopen, More Still Closed
This week, 63 schools that were closed last week due to the virus are returning to operation, but 135 schools and preschools are still closed.

A total of 17,605 students and teachers are still in quarantine. Of those, 385 students and teachers were ill with the virus as of Monday night.

Teachers, staff and students are again being cautioned to wear their masks, observe all social distancing regulations and maintain a two-meter distance between each person, and wash hands conscientiously, for at least 20 seconds — because coronavirus infections in the schools are still climbing.

‘We Need to Prepare for Second Wave’
Sources close to the Health Ministry told News 12 on Monday that health officials are already warning, “We need to prepare for a situation in which the second wave will be worse than the first – one in which we’ll have as many as 5,000 people on ventilators.”

Government ministers rejected that doomsday scenario, however, telling News 12, “We do not have to go to extremes to understand we must prepare, especially when the predictions of the first wave did not materialize.”

This weekend, it was decided to wait on resuming Israel Railways transportation across the country; the trains had been scheduled to resume operation Monday.

Israeli Govt ‘Hitting the Emergency Brake’ on Easing Coronavirus Restrictions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following a meeting of the Corona Cabinet that it was decided to “hit the emergency brake” on the plan to ease restrictions in the coming days, due to the steep increase in morbidity that has been seen in recent days.

“We will check this again next week,” he said.

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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.