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Israel is fighting a new wave of coronavirus infections after reopening



When signs of the coronavirus pandemic surfaced in Israel in March, the country shut down quickly and quickly. Then it opened again.

However, this return to normal was short-lived. Between 8am on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday morning, Israel registered a new daily elevation of 1,528 coronary virus cases, the Ministry of Health said. In the West Bank and Gaza, cases have also steadily increased, with more than 300 reported on Tuesday.

Israel has now reimposed some restrictions on coronavirus, but it has not yet returned to full lockdown. Bars, clubs and event halls were closed, restaurants limited to 20 people and all pools and gyms were closed earlier this week.

Israel’s new flood plain illustrates the risks of stopping the suspension conditions.

According to Gabi Barbash, a former director general of the Ministry of Health and professor of epidemiology at the Weizmann Institute, the main trigger for the new wave lies in the government’s decision to open schools, event halls and pubs, with infections growing among young people.

“After the first wave, the public was eager to go out and think the corona is over,” Barbash said. “The pressures of the government and the government were not strong enough to object to the pressure, and the decision was made to open the full volume of the education system.”

An outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit, 10 miles southwest of Jerusalem, led to a lockdown there on Wednesday, with traffic in and out of the city limited.

Some areas are not badly affected, but the virus seems to have spread throughout the country. Over the past weekend, the rescue service Magen David Adom reported a 300 percent increase in the number of calls to its hotline.

The health ministry said it expected the number of patients on ventilators – currently only 32 – to reach 2000. It also said it plans to add two to three additional coronavirus hotels to the existing 12, where people can quarantine without infecting others .

And Benny Gantz, defense minister and alternate, announced that he is isolating himself after being exposed to a family member with coronavirus.

With a population of about 8.6 million – roughly the size of New Jersey – Israel has had 32,714 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 343 deaths. There are currently more than 14,000 active coronavirus infections, according to the Ministry of Health.

Previously, the highest number of daily infections was reached in April 633, with the number of daily infections falling to single digits in a few days in May.

During the spring shutdown, Israel imposed strict limits on its residents, even the limited number of feet they were allowed to walk from their homes. As the number of cases decreased, so did the restrictions, and the decision to open some school classes in May was quickly followed by all grades being reopened.

Israeli health workers at a migrant testing center in Tel Aviv on Monday. Israel is reimposing a series of restrictions after seeing an increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.Oded Balilty / AP

The opening of schools and businesses was far too fast, said Siegal Sadetzki, who quit as Israel’s director of public health on Tuesday, saying her warnings had been ignored.

“It has been several weeks since Israel’s compass to handle the pandemic has lost its bearings,” she wrote on Facebook. “Performance in managing the first wave (of infections) was interrupted by the wide and rapid opening of the economy” which surpassed many other countries.

As cases in Israel have increased, so have Palestinians on the West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza have registered more than 4,600 cases and 18 deaths. Almost 2,000 of its cases were reported during the first week of July.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority extended a five-day cap on the West Bank for another five days, forcing all businesses, public transport, mosques and churches to close, except for pharmacies, bakeries and supermarkets.

A Palestinian child is preparing to be checked for coronavirus at a mobile test station in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem on Monday.Ahmad Gharabli / AFP – Getty Images

Palestinian politicians have accused Israel of the increase in cases, saying that Palestinian workers returning to the territory from Israel were infected during the work.

Although the new outbreak may have started with young people, it will not end there, Barbash warned.

“We might be doing a better job of nursing homes, and that’s the result of the demographics of the new second wave,” he said. “This is only temporary. There is no way to separate the entire population.”

Reuters contributed.


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