Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israeli policeman enforces the lockdown at the entrance to the neighborhood of Ramot in Jerusalem, Sept. 9, 2020.

For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel has registered almost 4,000 new cases in one day, with 14 deaths. The number of tests in the country has also been very high: 44,717 in one day. There are 474 severe cases, out of whom 133 are on respirators. The number of deaths as of Thursday morning is 1,054 or 117 per 1 million.

The leading cities in terms of the pandemic are Jerusalem – 4,066 active cases; Bnei Brak – 1,816; Ashdod – 1,306; Modiin Ilit – 928; Beit Shemesh – 890; Tel Aviv – 844; and Petah Tikvah – 764.

Head of Israel’s public health services, Sharon Elrai.
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The head of Israel’s public health services, Sharon Elrai, told reshet Bet radio Thursday morning that “the picture is worrying, we are going in the direction of a national epidemic – even in the green cities. Therefore, the traffic light model at the moment cannot work, and our recommendation today in the cabinet will be to impose general closure on the high holidays.”

The Corona Cabinet will convene Thursday afternoon to discuss restrictions to be imposed on the public during the Tishrei high holidays. The alternatives that will be presented to the cabinet ministers will be a tight restriction that includes a curfew only during the holidays themselves (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), versus closure for the entire high holiday period.

The tight restriction outline is supported by Corona Czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu, and will include a curfew during the holidays only, ban on going more than 500 meters from one’s home, partial closure of the education system, closed businesses, closed hotels, reduction of employment, with the public sector working in an emergency format, and the private sector operating without customers on site.

Meanwhile, experts advising the Corona Cabinet say the situation in hospitals is not encouraging, and more restrictions are needed. Hospital administrators, such as Assuta CEO Prof. Shuki Shemer, warned that they were having a hard time meeting patient demands, and called for a full closure to prevent the system from collapsing.

Finally (for now), Israelis have been debating the fact that thousands are allowed to demonstrate in the streets and at the same time smaller numbers are prevented from attending open-air events and prayer services. A member of the Joint Arab List, MK Ofer Cassif, famously suggested at a Knesset committee meeting that the records show no cases of infection stemming from those political rallies. Well, it turns out that the honorable MK was wrong, and the gods of leftwing protests do not offer their protection to demonstrators outside the PM’s residence. Official data from the Health Ministry shows that in the month of August at least 20 confirmed corona patients attended the demonstrations, and over the last 3 months at least 55 were spotted.

According to Deputy Minister Yoav Kish (Likud), there is no way to know if those patients were infected or infected others, because the epidemiological questionnaire does not include an option for “demonstration.”

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