Photo Credit: Yossi Aloni / Flash 90
Medical team at the coronavirus unit in Ichilov hospital, Tel Aviv, May 4, 2020.

Israel’s Health Ministry reports there were 1,580 newly-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country as of midnight Tuesday evening into Wednesday; the 24-hour data followed the 31,392 test results that were received Tuesday by the ministry.

As of Wednesday evening, the ministry reported a total of 23,399 active cases of the virus. That figure includes 205 patients whose condition is listed as very serious; of those, 57 patients require ventilator support.

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Wednesday was the first day on which the number of serious cases exceeded 200 since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 104 patients are listed in fair, or “moderate” condition.

Sadly, the virus has killed 376 Israelis, including three who died earlier in the day. The total number of Israelis who have been diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic is 44,188.

On the bright side, 19,989 Israelis have recovered from the virus.

Edelstein, Gantz, Ben-Shabbat Debate Restrictions, Lockdown
In a tense meeting of top officials Tuesday, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned that unless the country’s COVID-19 numbers don’t change within the next three days, “there would be no option but to declare a full shutdown.”

Edelstein: Full Lockdown Likely by Next Week

At the meeting, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, suggested that the government activate a new series of restrictions in accordance with Health Ministry recommendations to stem the second wave of coronavirus. Ben-Shabbat asked the government to close down synagogues, yeshivas, public pools, gyms, summer camps, and restaurants.

Israeli Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz expressed opposition to the lesser restrictions proposed by Ben-Shabbat. Because he is in quarantine Gantz participated in the meeting via a video connection. He said that while the government needed to take action, at this stage there was no reason to enact additional restrictions.

Pandemic Much Worse in France, the US
Taking a look at the COVID-19 statistics elsewhere around the world can provide some perspective to those who feel Israel is plunging “into the abyss” this time around.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday reported 3,416,428 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 60,971 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 773 to 135,991.

In France, the number of deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday rose by 91 to stand at 30,120, according to the French Health Department.

In Brazil, officials confirmed 1,966,748 cases of the novel coronavirus, up from 1,926,824 cases on Tuesday. The total number of deaths from COVID-19 rose to 75,366 on Wednesday from 74,133 a day earlier, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive on Wednesday for the coronavirus, a week after he announced that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Bolsonaro said he will be tested again in another few days.

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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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