Over 220 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the last 48 hours. As the Israeli population gets hits with infections and wide-scale testing resumes, the economy will remain open despite specific districts shutting down. About 130 schools and 21,877 students and teachers are currently in quarantine. At least 418 cases have been confirmed in schools, with the majority of teachers. Once one case is uncovered in a school, everyone is tested and sent to quarantine for two weeks. By these measures, researchers have uncovered that about 2.5% of the population is hosting the virus, though is likely asymptomatic, which causes a fresh wave of concern for the majority of Israelis who are no longer following social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing requirements.
The confirmed cases in Israel number over 18,000 people, and continue to climb daily. The fatality rate stands at 299 deaths, and 23 people are in serious condition. Despite the rising bursts of infection, gatherings of up to 250 people have been approved by Israeli authorities, including weddings. While large gatherings are allowed, overcrowding is not, and so the public transit train system remains closed, with no answers on when the tracks will re-open.
The current public transport system running, which includes buses, might be a major risk factor in continuing the spread of COVID-19. Even for passengers who wear masks, if one passenger is asymptomatic, bus ventilation systems are recycling the same air in closed quarters. In addition to being infectious incubators, bus companies are no longer able to cover costs. A letter sent to authorities from the public transport forum states that by June 18, “the time period will end in which companies could continue holding their heads above the water and operating public transport on a routine format…companies will be forced to transfer to ‘survival mode,’ including substantial reductions to operations.”
With many industries going economically under, the tourism industry has been promised a boost of about $850,000, while local businesses suffer. Restaurants, which opened last week, are seeing a slow return of diners and only 70% occupancy. The entertainment industry remains shuttered with no support. Open businesses have been fined a total of NIS 600,000 by the State for not following the regulations properly; an added fine to the already struggling grasps of many staying open.
In a recent online survey of 1,800 Israelis, 79%, want increased enforcement of restrictions when it comes to others wearing masks and keeping social distancing rules. For the post corona period, wearing masks is crucial to limit contamination between people, and enables a decline in the second wave of the virus.