March 22, 2020
Over 60,000 Israelis are currently under home quarantine. (File photo: Reuters)
The number of Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus jumped to 945, including 20 people in serious condition, the Health Ministry said Sunday.
According to the ministry, the majority of cases (863) are mild, and 24 are moderate, and 37 people have recovered. Israel recorded its first fatality from COVID-19, the diseases caused by the coronavirus over the weekend, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even, a resident of Jerusalem.
The ministry noted that 814 doctors and 900 nurses are currently in quarantine and that 42 medical personnel have tested positive for the virus. Over 60,000 Israelis are currently under home quarantine.
On Saturday, Israeli media reported that despite the urgent need for testing, not all of the laboratories performing the test were working over the weekend.
The head of the Israel Association of Biochemists, Microbiologists and Laboratory Workers accused the Health Ministry of preventing laboratories from operating in full on Shabbat, limiting the number of coronavirus tests they could perform.
The Health Ministry denied the claim, saying it has increased testing for the virus from 500 daily tests to around 2,200. A ministry official said that the number of tests is expected to increase to 3,000 a day this week Sunday and 5,000 by the next week, as per Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed.
Also over the weekend, Magen David Adom, Israel's primary emergency services organization, has opened four drive-through testing facilities, allowing Israelis who know they are at risk to contract the virus over exposure to a verified patient, to be tested for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, many Israelis continued to flout restrictions on leaving their homes. As a result, the cabinet on Saturday night updated emergency regulations, which came into effect on Sunday at 8 a.m.
The restrictions will be in place for the next seven days and to be enforced by the police, who will be able to impose hefty fines on those who breach them.
The new guidelines state that Israelis must remain at home, with exceptions made for buying essential food and medical supplies or seeking medical treatment.
Other exceptions include attending demonstrations, aiding an elderly or ill person, blood donations, attending court hearings, seeking aid from welfare services, going to the Knesset, and attending religious services — which must have no more than 10 people present.