Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Man prays outside the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem's Old City during the pandemic lockdown, October 13, 2020.

The Israeli Health Ministry reported Monday morning that more than a hundred patients in critical condition have been added in the last day, and their number now stands at 519. The number of new verified Corona patients who were diagnosed on Sunday is 5,075, with the positive test rate at 6.07%, the highest it has been in the current outbreak.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported 524 critical patients, of whom 84 were on respirators. On Monday morning there are “only” 519 critical patients, 92 of whom are on respirators.

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The loaded figure, however, is the number of dead that was recorded on Sunday, 6,632 since the outbreak of the pandemic. On Monday, that number jumped to 6,668, suggesting 36 Corona patients have died over the past 24 hours. It means that the drop in the number of critical patients was due to their death.

On Monday morning, just three weeks before Rosh Hashanah, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) sent a personal letter to all the heads of Israel’s municipalities asking them to prepare for conducting the High Holiday prayers and all the Tishrei holidays in the open air due to the increase in the Corona morbidity. Shaked wrote: “We are in the midst of a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus, which may lead to our having to adapt to running the special high holiday prayers and the Tishrei holidays in a different way than usual.”

Minister Shaked’s directive follows the Corona Cabinet’s decision two weeks ago to exclude synagogues, mosques, and churches from the Green Tag restrictions. According to the cabinet’s decision, which was made at the request of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the restrictions will only apply to prayers attended by more than 50 people. In previous waves of the pandemic, houses of worship were also exempted from some restrictions imposed by the government, which experts said accelerated the spread of the virus across the country, raising widespread public criticism.

The Home Front Command presented a gloomy forecast in a discussion with Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue&White) and other decision-makers. The Command expects the extent of Corona illness to reach more than 15,000 new patients per day come September 1 – when the new school year is scheduled to open in Israel – unless it is pushed to October.

The Home Front Command’s assessment is based on current morbidity data, and it was presented to Gantz as a reasonable scenario.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.