Archive for March 17, 2020

Israel expands lockdown amid forecast of 10,000-coronavirus victims. Idle hotels turn into quarantine hospitals – DEBKAfile

March 17, 2020

Source: Israel expands lockdown amid forecast of 10,000-coronavirus victims. Idle hotels turn into quarantine hospitals – DEBKAfile

More population groups will be confined to their homes in the expanded lockdown announced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday night, March 16 after the number of coronavirus victims rose to 277.

 Health Ministry director Moshe Bar Simantov warned that the rate of infections was gaining momentum and doubling itself at high speed. If Israel fails to declare a total lockdown on the country, he warned that the number of covid-19 cases forecast will reach 10,000 in 10 days to two weeks.

The IDF has been enlisted for the first time to help deal with the emergency. The Homeland Defense Command has taken over hotels in the main cities – idle for lack of tourists – for use as centers for the treatment of quarantined coronavirus patients to ease the burden on the hospitals.

While abstaining from a comprehensive national lockdown at this time, the prime minister nonetheless announced more steps in addition to the stringent restrictions already in place.

Economic activity already reduced will be shrink further by placing the public sector on emergency footing. Most of the work force in government ministries is to be put on unpaid leave until after the Passover holiday. Public institutions including banks will cut down on staff at their desks and public transport scaled down. This latest package is in effect a compromise between the demands of the health authorities and the determination by the ministry of finance that the economy cannot withstand a complete lockdown. Furthermore, digital surveillance of confirmed cases will be in force for 30 days.

The crisis took another sharp turn on Monday with a flood of complaints from hospitals and medical institutions of a severe shortage of equipment for coping with the disease, and lack of protective gear for medical staff.

 

Israel expands lockdown amid forecast of 10,000-coronavirus victims. Idle hotels turn into quarantine hospitals – DEBKAfile

March 17, 2020

Source: Israel expands lockdown amid forecast of 10,000-coronavirus victims. Idle hotels turn into quarantine hospitals – DEBKAfile

More population groups will be confined to their homes in the expanded lockdown announced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday night, March 16 after the number of coronavirus victims rose to 277.

 Health Ministry director Moshe Bar Simantov warned that the rate of infections was gaining momentum and doubling itself at high speed. If Israel fails to declare a total lockdown on the country, he warned that the number of covid-19 cases forecast will reach 10,000 in 10 days to two weeks.

The IDF has been enlisted for the first time to help deal with the emergency. The Homeland Defense Command has taken over hotels in the main cities – idle for lack of tourists – for use as centers for the treatment of quarantined coronavirus patients to ease the burden on the hospitals.

While abstaining from a comprehensive national lockdown at this time, the prime minister nonetheless announced more steps in addition to the stringent restrictions already in place.

Economic activity already reduced will be shrink further by placing the public sector on emergency footing. Most of the work force in government ministries is to be put on unpaid leave until after the Passover holiday. Public institutions including banks will cut down on staff at their desks and public transport scaled down. This latest package is in effect a compromise between the demands of the health authorities and the determination by the ministry of finance that the economy cannot withstand a complete lockdown. Furthermore, digital surveillance of confirmed cases will be in force for 30 days.

The crisis took another sharp turn on Monday with a flood of complaints from hospitals and medical institutions of a severe shortage of equipment for coping with the disease, and lack of protective gear for medical staff.

 

Six new coronavirus patients in Israel – number jumps to 304

March 17, 2020

Source: Six new coronavirus patients in Israel – number jumps to 304 – The Jerusalem Post

Three people who work in the Central Laboratory for Detecting Coronavirus of the Ministry of Health at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer tested positive. An IDF soldier is also infected.

Workers wearing protective clothes disinfect a shop in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2020, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Workers wearing protective clothes disinfect a shop in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2020, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
The number of Israelis infected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, rose Tuesday morning by six people to 304, according to the Health Ministry.

Among the infected are three people who work in the Central Laboratory for Detecting Coronavirus of the Ministry of Health at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. On Monday, the lab was shut down because its deputy director-general became infected. The new diagnoses include two additional staff members, Kan news reported.

There are four patients in critical condition, 11 in moderate and 284 that have mild cases of the virus, according to the ministry report.

So far, five Israelis have become infected with but recovered from COVID-19.

Some 223 people are hospitalized, 15 are in the check-in process and will be hospitalized by the end of the day, and 46 patients are being treated in home-isolation.

On Sunday night, a senior doctor at Ichilov Hospital was reported by Ynet to have contracted the virus. All of the patients in her unit – many of them senior citizens – had to be tested and transferred to another unit, and her staff was sent home to self-isolate. The next morning, an intern in the hospital’s urology department also tested positive for coronavirus.

In addition, the IDF confirmed that patient No. 273 is a 19-year-old soldier from the north of the country. She is in mild condition. The IDF Medical Corps. and the Ministry of Health are together conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation and will share that information soon.

צבא ההגנה לישראל

@idfonline

חולה מספר 273 היא חיילת בצה”ל, בת 19 מצפון הארץ. מצבה של החולה קל והיא פונתה לבית חולים. מדובר בחולה השישית בצה״ל.
חיל הרפואה, בשיתוף משרד הבריאות, מבצע חקירה אפידמיולוגית מקיפה שממצאיה יפורסמו בהמשך. למגעים קרובים נמסרה הודעה ומגעים נוספים מאותרים כעת

MK Tzachi Hanegbi refrained from attending the Knesset swearing in ceremony on Monday because he feared he had been in contact with someone who might have coronavirus. Hanegbi is waiting for the individual’s test results. In the interim, he is self-isolating.

Further more, a report disseminated by Hadassh Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem shared that the condition of an 89-year-old woman who was infected with coronavirus deteriorated overnight and she is considered critical condition.

So far, Israel has not had any person die from the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to roll out new restrictions on the public to help stop the spread of the virus across the country. Most of the new instructions presented Monday night will impact the public and private business sectors.

 

COVID-19 cases in Israel jump to 298; nearly 1/4 showed no symptoms

March 17, 2020

Source: COVID-19 cases in Israel jump to 298; nearly 1/4 showed no symptoms | The Times of Israel

Less than one-third of cases display both fever and respiratory symptoms, Health Ministry data shows; 98 of sick contracted disease in Israel; 21 recently returned from Spain

People wearing protective masks arrive at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital on March 16, 2020, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

People wearing protective masks arrive at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital on March 16, 2020, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The Health Ministry on Monday night said the number of COVID-19 cases in Israel has climbed to 298, as data shared by the authorities showed that one-quarter of those infected by the coronavirus showed no symptoms.

Four of the cases were in serious condition and nine were showing moderate symptoms.

The data, based on 250 confirmed cases in Israel, underlined that 59 (24 percent) were asymptomatic upon diagnosis, 66 (26%) experienced respiratory symptoms, but no fever, while 41 (16%) ran a fever, but had no breathing difficulties or cough.

A plurality (74 cases, 29%), though still under one-third, had both a fever and respiratory symptoms — the conditions under which Israel’s emergency services are most likely to grant a COVID-19 test to those who have not returned from abroad or been in direct contact with someone infected. The symptoms in 11 other cases were classified as “unknown.”

The ministry did not specify how those who were asymptomatic were identified as carrying the virus, but health authorities have been testing those exposed to confirmed cases.

A man walks by closed shops and restaurants in Tel Aviv, on March 15, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

According to the Health Ministry figures, most of those carrying the virus had recently returned from abroad, though spread within Israel was catching up (98 cases).

The country with the largest numbers of Israeli travelers who were later diagnosed with COVID-19 was Spain, with 21 cases. Sixteen had recently returned from Italy and Austria, respectively, followed by 14 who came from France. Twelve of the cases had entered Israel from the United States, and another dozen from the United Kingdom. Eight each of those sick with the coronavirus had returned from Germany and Egypt.

Israel also saw two cases each among recent travelers to the Netherlands and Bulgaria, and a single case each from Belgium, Azerbaijan, Tunis, Japan, Malta, and Denmark.

Another 26 cases are still under investigation, the ministry said.

A plurality of those confirmed to be carrying the virus are in their 30s (23%), with the next common age group those in their 40s (18%) and their 20s (13%). Children and teenagers accounted for just 10% of the infections.

Some 22% of those who have fallen ill are over 60 (12% between 60 and 69; 10% over 70).

Over 50,000 Israelis are currently in quarantine.

Passengers wear masks at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Health Ministry said earlier that it was considering dramatically increasing its restrictions on movement in a bid to further slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We may ask people to leave the house less, and only for necessary errands. The government is considering a general closure on all citizens, and if that happens it would mean all age groups will be asked to stay home until further notice,” the ministry’s deputy director general, Itamar Grotto, said Monday.

On Saturday, the government announced the latest wave of restrictions, saying all educational institutions would be shuttered and gatherings limited to no more than 10 people at any one time.

On Sunday, all “non-essential” businesses, including malls, restaurants, and most stores, were shut down.