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June 26, 2020 9:06 am

Israel ‘on the Verge of Losing Control’ Over Second Wave of COVID-19

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MDA paramedics take safety precautions ahead of the return home of 11 Israelis previously quarantined for coronavirus aboard the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship off the coast of Japan, Feb. 21, 2020. Photo: Magen David Adom. – Israeli officials warned on Wednesday that the country was at risk of “losing control” over a second-wave outbreak of coronavirus, as 532 new infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours and hospitals were told to gear up for a flood of new patients.

“We may have opened too quickly. The public is not disciplined or wearing masks,” professor Sigal Sadetzky, head of public-health services in the Health Ministry, told Ynet on Thursday.

The Health Ministry’s daily case tally as of Wednesday night was the highest in more than two months. However, the number of serious cases rose by just one, to 46 out of 5,796 active cases. On Wednesday, Israel conducted 16,990 tests and showed a 2.6 percent positive rate.

No new deaths were reported.

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A total of 189 people are hospitalized as a result of coronavirus, with 15,940 already having recovered.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that health experts told officials responsible for the government’s coronavirus policy that the country is “on the verge of losing control,” and predicted that 1,000 new daily cases would be reported within the next five days.

Sadetsky told Channel 12 that she supported a renewal of a controversial policy allowing the digital tracking of virus carriers and those exposed to them, which the Israel Security Agency has opposed.

On Wednesday night, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the IDF Home Front Command to make arrangements with additional hotels to house quarantined coronavirus patients who could not self-isolate at home. There are already six facilities open for COVID-19 patients.

Also on Wednesday, police ramped up efforts to enforce face-mask regulations, handing out 2,264 fines of NIS 500 ($145) apiece.

The government is reportedly weighing partial closures for several areas afflicted with a rise in coronavirus cases, having already partially locked down two cities on Wednesday.

According to an IDF task force, 14 percent of new infections are located in five ultra-Orthodox communities, including Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit and Beit Shemesh.

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