Photo Credit: JewishPress.com
Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva

The State of Israel is adding three more laboratories to the one already in operation at Tel Hashomer Medical Center – and that one will increase the number of tests being carried out, according to an announcement Tuesday by the Health Ministry.

The three additional laboratories for coronavirus testing and verification will be located at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, and at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

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The ministry also reported that 140 people in Israel who were suspected of having caught the virus have been examined and all were in the clear.

“At the same time, the assumption of the Health Ministry is that the coronavirus will arrive in Israel, and the system continues to prepare for this scenario,” the ministry statement said.

An Israeli woman who was among 14 other Israelis on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who developed a fever and “flu-like” symptoms this past weekend is still being evaluated to determine whether or not she has contracted the coronavirus.

A total of 135 cases of the virus have been diagnosed among the 3,700 passengers and crew on the vessel that has been held in quarantine in the port of Yokohama near Tokyo since February 5, when it was learned that a passenger from Hong Kong who had previously been on board had tested positive for coronavirus.

The quarantine of the ship is due to end on February 19, barring “unforeseen developments,” according to Princess Cruises.

In China Death Toll Tops 1,000, Journalist ‘Disappears’
The death toll from the virus in China reached 1,018 on Monday, with all but five of the victims originating in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic.

The figures marked the first time that more than 100 people had died from the virus (108) in a single day. The country’s National Health Commission reported a total of 43,114 confirmed cases of the illness worldwide, of which 42,638 were in China. The virus has spread to at least 24 countries.

Citizen journalist and attorney Chen Qiushi has disappeared after meticulously documenting and reporting on the coronavirus from the epicenter of the epidemic for nearly two weeks, South China Morning Post reported Monday.

Chen, an attorney by profession, traveled to Wuhan on January 24 to personally see what was happening. He reported on everything from the construction of hospitals from the ground up, to the burial centers around the city. His reports were seen by Chinese citizens using a VPN to evade the Chinese government’s censorship laws, according to the CCN website.

“As long as I live in this city I will continue to report,” Chen said in his final video. “I only report what I see, what I hear.”
Tearfully, perhaps even knowing already it might be his last report, Chen said, “I really want to be blunt, right? Today … I’m not even afraid of death. You think I’m afraid of the Communist Party?”

It was indeed his last post, and Chen’s mother said she could not reach him after that. A friend said he had been forcibly quarantined, despite his good health and showing no signs of infection.

The journalist went missing on the same day that the death of Dr. Li Wenliang was reported. Dr. Li, an ophthalmologist who was the first medical professional to correctly identify and report the coronavirus to his colleagues, was promptly punished by the government.

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