Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
Prof. Ronni Gamzu, new Coronaviruz Czar in Israel

Israel’s Health Ministry reported Monday evening that 1,518 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, were diagnosed in the past 24 hours.

The figure raised Israel’s total number of cases diagnosed since the start of the pandemic to 74,102.

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At present, there are 26,005 patients actively ill with the virus; of those, 331 are listed in serious condition, including 99 who require respirator (ventilator) support in order to survive. In addition, 139 Israelis are listed in fair, or moderate condition as well.

Ten more Israelis died between Sunday and Monday evening, bringing the national coronavirus death toll up to 546.

The numbers are lower than they were a week ago, but still quite serious: according to the Health Ministry, health officials conducted 10,028 COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, up until Monday evening. According to the ministry, 8.3 percent of the results were positive.

Coronavirus Cabinet Meets to Stop Spread
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chaired a meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet Monday at which it was hoped measures would emerge to reduce the spread of the virus – but it was not to be.

Netanyahu did direct the members of the cabinet to produce a proposal for cabinet review that will reduce the contacts and lower the number of cases seen in the country, within the next 48 hours. But Netanyahu has put those instructions out before.

However, this time newly-appointed Coronavirus Czar Roni Gamzu is expected to create a detailed plan by the time the cabinet meets on Wednesday, at which time there will be a vote to determine a strategy with which to proceed.

The prime minister’s sarcasm was obvious in his opening remarks this time around: “The first step is the mask: This advanced technological device prevents morbidity. It is worn as it was just over a century ago; it prevents the disease. If it is not worn, the disease spreads,” he said.

But his main point, as it has been before, was this: if folks don’t get serious about paying attention to the basics, the basics are going to come and bite them in the you-know-what. And then they will have to stay home nursing their wounds, in a lockdown, until they and everyone else feels better again.”

‘A Virus is a Virus is a Virus’
“Contacts may be reduced in several ways,” Netanyahu said. “One possibility that we are trying to avoid is a general lockdown of the entire country.

“The other possibilities are three kinds of other lockdowns. One is localized lockdowns of red cities, there are these. There will be dialogue with the mayors and every possible assistance, including for businesses, not just for the cities themselves but also for businesses within these cities, with an explicit index for the days under lockdown, etc.

“The second possibility that we are discussing is nighttime lockdowns, i.e. to restrict activity from a certain time until the morning.

“The third possibility is a weekend lockdown. Of course, it will be possible to link these, to bring some or all of them.

“We must lower the morbidity. We simply must. We cannot allow it to remain as it is. There is also great importance to the IDF joining this action, especially regarding cutting the morbidity, locating people with the virus and quarantining them, etc. This wave is currently hitting most countries anew. Countries that succeeded in closing, like us, and have begun to reopen, have received more or less what is happening to us because the virus is a virus is a virus.”

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