With COVID-19 still sweeping the country, about 9,755 Israelis have confirmed cases. With about 150 in critical condition, at least 80 people have passed away due to the virus, with the youngest being a 37-year-old man. Eight hundred people have recovered. While the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, the capacity for testing has gone down, meaning that only someone with high fever and respiratory issues who has been out of the country is eligible for testing. If someone has been in the vicinity of someone with confirmed coronavirus, they are also eligible to be tested.
In addition, Israel is choosing to close neighborhoods which are “hot spots” for the quick spread of the coronavirus. Some of the neighborhoods currently being monitored and shut down are Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh, Elad, as well as discussions to also place restrictions on Tiberias, Ashkelon, Migdal HaEmek, Beitar Illit, and Or Yehuda.
While tight restrictions have been set, many people have continued to gather in prayer, for funerals and weddings. Essential businesses and shops have also set down tape to display two meters of social distancing, and many shops are seeing lines around the corner as only a limited amount of people are able to enter the narrow stores. In good news, it seems Israeli culture is finally being infused with a dose of patience, and perhaps even a lesson in personal space.
In other promising news, Israeli scientists are alleging they will be able to test a version of the coronavirus vaccine in early June. The MIGAL team had been working on a coronavirus vaccine for the past 3 years but were focused on poultry. With the global outbreak, the team, and many others across the country, have pivoted their testing to creating a human vaccine.
All residents have been asked to stay home during the Passover holiday, with an official lockdown set the evening before Passover until Friday. An increased number of police forces were set to ensure that Israelis were not traveling to each other’s homes, which would violate the lockdown.
As the public health crisis countries, one important fact remains. Staying home saves lives.