Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Jewish men wear protective face masks to pray at a public park in the Jewish town of Efrat, in Gush Etzion, July 22, 2020.

Israel’s Health Ministry reported Wednesday that in the past 24 hours since Tuesday, 1,977 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus; the highest daily total of confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 29,079 tests for the virus were conducted on Tuesday, with 7.78 percent returning with positive results.

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The figure also signifies just how close Israel is coming to a point at which a national lockdown will be “inevitable,” according to estimates conveyed to the government ministers several weeks ago at a closed meeting by Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. Earlier this month, Edelstein warned that if Israel reaches 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 a day, a national lockdown may be the only way to stop the spread of the virus.

At present, there are 31,313 active cases of the virus in Israel – also a record high – and of those, 259 patients in very serious condition, including 82 patients who require ventilator support. Another 128 patients are listed in fair, or “moderate” condition.

Three more Israelis were killed by the virus overnight, bringing the death toll to 430.

The good news: 22,920 Israelis have recovered from the disease.

New Quarantine Rules
Despite the increasing numbers, the Health Ministry on Wednesday decided to ease the length of quarantine for those who are said to be recovering from the virus, allowing some to leave home even 10 days after diagnosis, or from the time they show symptoms.

Quarantine can end 10 days from when someone shows symptoms, plus three days during which there are no symptoms whatsoever, the ministry said.

Those who are diagnosed but asymptomatic can leave quarantine after 10 days, according to the guidelines.

In all cases, a doctor’s authorization is required to prove no symptoms exist.

Nevertheless, self-quarantine for those entering the country from abroad remains the same, as it does for those who are exposed to COVID-19 carriers: 14 days.

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