Coronavirus Israel Live: Number of Cases Tops 16,000, More Than Half Have Recovered

Schools partially reopen without clear health guideline ■ Seniors return to work ■ 230 people died from COVID-19 ■ Women 30 percent more likely to lose employment due to health crisis

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People walking by the beach in Tel Aviv, May 2. 2020.
People walking by the beach in Tel Aviv, May 2. 2020. Credit: Moti Milrod

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As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, Israel and the Palestinians are working to curb the spread of COVID-19 among their populations.

Israel’s single-use coalition will serve Trump and protect BibiCredit: Haaretz

■ 16,185 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 229 people have died. In the West Bank, 336 people tested positive; two people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 17 people were diagnosed.

■ The Israeli government approved a series of steps to ease the lockdown restrictions, including allowing group prayer, partial reopening of the economy and stores, and fines for not wearing masks in public. Some coronavirus wards started closing as cases decline.

Coronavirus tracker: Live statistics of cases and deaths in Israel and worldwideDo's and don'ts: Israel's Ministry explains coronavirus restrictions


9:39 A.M. Slight increase in number of coronavirus cases in Israel

Israel confirmed 41 new coronavirus cases Sunday morning, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,193. 9,634 of them have recovered, and 6,329 are still considered active.

105 patients are in serious condition, with 82 of them on life support. 230 people with COVID-19 died so far. (Haaretz)


9:39 A.M. Slight increase in number of coronavirus cases in Israel

Israel confirmed 41 new coronavirus cases Sunday morning, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,193. 9,634 of them have recovered, and 6,329 are still considered active.

105 patients are in serious condition, with 82 of them on life support. 230 people with COVID-19 died so far. (Haaretz)


11:02 P.M. Israel's Education Ministry delays directives for reopening schools

An Israeli hairdresser cuts a customer's hair in his shop in Jerusalem, after the government eased some lockdown measures imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, April 26, 2020. Credit: AFP

The Education Ministry had not issued directives for reopening schools as of late Saturday night, despite ministers approving the reopening of schools Sunday morning, amid mounting chaos and criticism from teachers, parents and municipalities.

“The directives will be published overnight, or by the morning at the latest,” the ministry stated on Saturday.

The ministerial committee dealing with the coronavirus approved Friday the reopening on Sunday of grades 1 through 3 and 11th and 12th grades – but not kindergartens, as had originally been planned.

However, schools will not be opening Sunday in several major cities. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

>> Click here to read the full report

10:40 P.M. Restriction barring seniors from coming to work lifted

The cabinet approved lifting a restriction that prevented senior citizens from coming to work due to fears that they would contract the coronavirus.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, who pushed for the restriction to be lifted, said, "There is no reason that senior citizens without other risk factors shouldn't return to work. The restriction discriminated on the basis of age and hurt seniors financially and socially." (Noa Landau)

10:10 P.M. Many more women than men in the ranks of Israel's coronavirus lay-offs, figures show

Nearly 30 percent more women than men have been laid off or placed on unpaid leave since the start of the coronavirus crisis in Israel. According to figures provided by the Israel Employment Service at the request of Haaretz, 116,000 more women than men filed for unemployment benefits in March and April.

The data, which covers the period up to April 16, show that 535,000 women and 419,000 men lost their jobs, meaning that women account for 56 percent of the newly unemployed while men account for 44 percent, even though the numbers of women and men in Israel are nearly equal. In the two months preceding the virus crisis, the unemployment picture was more balanced, with women accounting for 50.6 percent. (Lee Yaron)

>> Click here to read the full report

9:20 P.M. 84 new cases diagnosed in Israel over 24 hours

Israel confirmed 84 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,185. 9,593 of them have recovered so far, and 6,363 are still considered active.

105 patients are in serious condition, with 82 of them on life support. 229 Israelis with COVID-19 died so far. (Haaretz)

Protesters attend a protest in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of Israel's Supreme Court, Jerusalem, April 30, 2020Credit: The Associated Press/ Ariel Schalit

3:10 P.M. Arab local councils to call general strike on Tuesday

The heads of the Arab local councils are calling a general strike and a strike of municipal functions beginning Tuesday in protest of Israel's failure to appropriate proper funds to cover losses due to the coronavirus.

In addition, the 16 Druze and Circassian municipalities in Israel announced that they will strike on Sunday in protest of the "government's refusal to address their demands."

The heads of the Arab local councils are demanding reimbursement and damages for the loss of municipal property tax payments from business owners who were forced to close their doors under the coronavirus restrictions.

In an urgent address to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Arye Dery, the council heads claimed that the Interior Ministry budgeted 2.82 billion shekels ($804 million) to aid local municipalities, and that only 47 million were earmarked for Arab municipalities – about 1.7 percent. The municipalities estimate their losses at about 70 million shekels per month since the crisis began. (Jack Khoury)

>> Click here to read the full report

1:50 P.M. Coronavirus infection rate surges by over 40 percent within three days in Bedouin town

The Health Ministry said that the coronavirus infection in the Bedouin reginal council of Hura in the Negev has jumped by 43.5 percent, with 30 new patients diagnosed in the past three days. (Haaretz)

1:20 P.M. Iran coronavirus deaths rise by 65 to 6,156

Iran's death toll from new coronavirus increased by 65 in the past 24 hours to 6,156 on Saturday, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV.

The total number of diagnosed cases in Iran, one of the hardest hit Middle Eastern countries, has reached 96,448, he said, adding that 2,787 were in critical condition. (Reuters)

10:23 A.M. Number of Israel’s confirmed coronavirus cases rises to 16,152, more than half have recovered

The Health Ministry said that so far 16,152 Israelis have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, with 148 new cases registered in the last 24 hours.

Of the total cases registered, 9,400 people have recovered, leaving 6,525 active coronavirus cases in Israel.

So far, 227 Israelis have died from the virus, 107 are in serious condition, 84 of whom are on ventilators. (Haaretz)

A man gets his hair cut in Jerusalem on April 26, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg


11:58 P.M. Ultra-Orthodox community to reopen seventh to eleventh grade, small yeshivas

The Israeli government said Haredi schools will open for grades seventh through eleventh, as well as small yeshivas, following pressure from ultra-Orthodox leaders, who prefer that older children continue their Torah studies at school and better maintain social distancing there than at home.

In the secular education system, however, schools will gradually reopen by Tuesday for grades first to third and eleventh through twelfth.

One Haredi source involved in the decision told Haaretz: "In our community the priority is to pursue the study of the Torah in the best way possible, and this is what we opted for by pushing to open the higher grades first." (Aaron Rabinowitz)

9:00 P.M. Number of people in Israel diagnosed with the coronavirus stands at 16,101, 225 have died

Thus far, 16,101 people in Israel have tested positive for COVID-19, and 225 have died of the disease. In the past 24 hours, 155 diagnoses have been made, the Health Ministry said.

Of those, 103 are in severe condition, and 83 are on ventilators.
The Health Ministry also reported that in the past day, 595 people have recovered from the disease, with 9,156 recovered in all.

In the past 24 hours, 595 people have recovered from the coronavirus; 9,156 people have recovered in total.

8:44 P.M. More Israeli cities delay reopening of schools

The cities of Nahariya, Acre and Safed said they will not implement the government decision to resume partial school activity on Sunday, and instead will reopen later in the week. Local authorities claimed they did not have sufficient time to make the necessary preparations for the return to school of grades first through third as well as for upper high school grades.

"We are unable to go back to school as long as the government is turning over responsibility to the local authorities," wrote the city of Nahariya, naming the problem of school rides as one of the issues overlooked by the government decision. (Noa Shpigel)

4:47 P.M. Schools to resume partial operation by Tuesday

Israel's Education Ministry said schools will reopen for grades one through three and 11 and 12 in stages by Tuesday, after multiple cities said the initial government decision to open by Sunday was unfeasible. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

3:48 P.M. Israeli government extends duration of emergency regulations until May 4. (Noa Landau)

2:26 P.M. Another city announces it will not resume approved classes Sunday

A man wears a face mask with an Israeli flag pattern, April 27, 2020.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Be’er Sheva will not resume the classes that have been approved by the government Sunday. The move excludes special education students, who will continue to study operate in the same format that they have so far, according to the municipality. (Almog Ben Zikri)

1:29 P.M. Multiple cities announce they will not open schools Sunday

Ramat Gan will not open schools on Sunday, and Bat Yam and Kiryat Bialik will not return 11th or 12th graders to school, despite the government guidelines allowing it.

The mayors of Bat Yam and Kiryat Bialik said that they will not resume studies for high school students because the decision was made too late for schools to adequately prepare to hold classes under social distancing regulations.

Meanwhile, Kiryat Malachi Mayor Eliyahu Zohar announced that his city will resume classes on Monday instead of Sunday, in order to allow schools to better prepare. (Bar Peleg, Shira Kadari-Ovadia, Almog Ben Zikri)

12:55 P.M. Tel Aviv says it will not reopen schools

Despite the government decision, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said that he will not reopen schools as the new guidelines allow. Huldai says he made the decision "out of a responsibility for the wellbeing and health of the children and educational staff."

Huldai cited the importance of restarting the economy, but said that "the proposed plan is not a solution for the market, it is not a solution for the education system, and most importantly, it doesn't ensure the wellbeing and health of the children." (Bar Peleg)

12:30 P.M. Schools to reopen Sunday for first to third grade, eleventh and twelfth grade

The ministerial council has unanimously approved the reopening of schools on Sunday. Children in first through third grade will return to school, as will high school students in eleventh and twelfth grade.

Medical staff hug in a coronavirus-dedicated ward at Ichilov hospital, Tel Aviv, April 21, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Ultra-Orthodox studies will resume for sixth grade through twelfth grade. At-risk youth and special education students will resume studies.

Preschools and kindergartens will reopen on May 10. Fourth through tenth graders will not return to school before June 1. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

11:43 A.M. Netanyahu says first through third grade students to return to school on Sunday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that schools will reopen for first through third grade on Sunday. He also said that the delay in opening daycare centers is due to the Labor Ministry not yet agreeing to the conditions of opening them. His comment comes after outcry and protest about the decision to open grades one through three but not daycare centers.

Labor Minster Ofir Akunis said that it should take a week for the department to reach agreements with the Finance Ministry in order to open daycare canters on May 10.

The National Security Council praised the Education Ministry for the decision to return to school, pointing an accusatory finger at the Health Ministry, which added more stipulations at the last moment. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

11:29 A.M. Clashes between market traders and police for second day over market closure

Clashes took place between Ramle market stall owners and police officers Friday, for the second consecutive day, as the traders protest the continued closure of markets. Three owners were given fines, while one was taken in for questing after refusing to identify himself. (Bar Peleg)

11:22 A.M. Surfers demonstrate for gov't to allow surfing

Dozens of surfers demonstrated this morning on the southern coast of Herzliya.The protest is against the Health Ministry's decision not to allow surfing yet, as well as police fining surfers. The protesters formed a human chain, while observing the rule to stand two meters from one another. The surfers say there are 500 surf clubs in Israel that are closed, and 15,000 workers sitting at home. In addition, 105,000 children who are enrolled in educational surfing programs can't participate in them.

Lior Zamir Yor of the Surfers Association told Haaretz that "the protest is about inequality in enforcement and the Health Ministry's ban on surfing. It is time for the decision makers to realize that surfing does not pose any risk or breach social distancing regulations." (Bar Peleg)

11:05 A.M. National Security Council recommends delaying reopening of schools for another week

Ahead of the government debate on reopening schools and preschools the National Security Council recommended that the schools remain closed for another week, until Sunday March 10. The council said that the preschools and local governments were not ready for such a step and that there was no consensus on a plan for reopening.

The Education Ministry supports opening both preschools and first through third grades on Sunday, while the Health Ministry wants to reopen only the lower grades in the schools, with classes of no more than 15 children.

The Health Ministry has still not provided clear instructions concerning how to operate day care centers for children up to age three, so the centers are unable to prepare properly to reopen, said Labor Ministry officials involved in the matter. In addition, government-supervised day care centers cannot open next week because the employees have announced a strike.

The Education Ministry has still not received official instructions on the reopening from the Health Ministry. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

11:00 A.M. Government shortens nightly Ramadan lockdown of Arab communities

Following the appeal of Interior Minister Arye Dery to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, the government decided to shorten the daily lockdown on Arab towns during Ramadan from 7:30 P.M. daily to 3:00 A.M. tomorrow. Ahmad Tibi of the Joint List approached Dery, asking him to shorten the curfew for the sake of commercial businesses.

In the first week of Ramadan the closure began daily at 6:00 P.M. and ended at 3:00 A.M. (Jack Khoury)

9:36 A.M. 16,004 Israelis diagnosed with coronavirus, with death toll at 223

There are 16,004 Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry. 105 of those diagnosed are in serious condition, with 83 on ventilators. Meanwhile, 223 people have passed away from the virus. (Haaretz)


8:21 P.M. Cases in Israel rise to 15,946, death toll to 212

The number of coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 16,946, a rise of 112 in the past 24 hours. The death toll has risen to 222. There are 82 people on ventilators. The number of recoveries, 8,561, remains higher than active cases, 7,163. (Haaretz)

8:10 P.M. Netanyahu to continue discussion on Friday about opening schools

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to continue discussions on Friday about reopening schools. Sources say there is general agreement about the Health Ministry's recommendation to return children in grades one through three to school next week, but that the Health and Education Ministries are in disagreement about what to do with kindergartens. The Health Ministry and National Security Council are arguing that an overly hasty reopening of schools might be dangerous. (Noa Landau)

7:30 P.M. Bnei Brak will not reopen schools despite Health Ministry recommendation, city says

The ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, a hot spot of the country's coronavirus outbreak, says that it will not be reopening schools on Sunday, after the Health Ministry recommending allowing grades one through three to return to school, with classes being split into groups of 15 each. The recommendation has not yet been approved by the government. (Bar Peleg)

6:35 P.M. Neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Hura declared restricted areas

A neighborhood in Jerusalem and two in the southern Bedouin town of Hura have been declared restricted areas, a joint statement from the Prime Minister's Office and the Health Ministry says. The city of Netivot and two neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh are no longer restricted areas as the rate of infections there has decreased, the statement says. Authorities have declared a third neighborhood in Beit Shemesh a restricted area, too. (Noa Landau)

6:26 P.M. Health Ministry recommends return to school for up to third grade

The Health Ministry is recommending that children in grades one through three return to school next week, with classes being split into groups of 15 each.

It also recommends that kindergartens reopen a week or two later, as it is considered more difficult to ensure that younger children maintain social distance, raising the risk of infection. Therefore, even when the kindergartens do reopen, the ministry suggests that they be divided into groups of eight.

A Health Ministry official says there have been about 1,000 coronavirus cases in children younger than nine, with another 2,000 in children older than nine. (Ido Efrati)

5:09 P.M. Neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Hura to be declared restricted areas

The ministerial committee responsible for designating restricted areas is set to shortly convene and declare neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in the southern Bedouin town of Hura over the country's coronavirus outbreak. The committee will also extend the declaration of restricted areas in Beit Shemesh and in Netivot. (Noa Landau)

2:45 P.M. Day cares won’t resume operation on Sunday, officials say

Senior Welfare Ministry officials said that both state-run and private day cares won’t reopen on Sunday amid coronavirus fears.

Kindergartens, along with first to third grades are expected to reopen in small groups and to a limited extent on Sunday. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

1:55 P.M. Iran death toll from coronavirus rises by 71 to 6,028

Iran's death toll from the outbreak of the new coronavirus increased by 71 in the past 24 to 6,028, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV on Thursday.

The total number of diagnosed cases of the new coronavirus in Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the outbreak, has reached 94,640, he said. (Reuters)

11:36 A.M. Schools to remain close in Israel’s Arab communities amid coronavirus fears

The heads of Israel’s Arab municipalities said that schools won’t resume operation in the next two weeks. The decision comes amid parental objection to the matter and concerns that the coronavirus infection rate will continue growing within Israel's Arab society.

A situation assessment on the matter will be held over the weekend. (Jack Khoury)

11:10 A.M. Israel approves entry of 50,000 Palestinian workers starting Sunday

Israel decided to allow some 50,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank to enter the country starting Sunday.

The workers will stay in Israel during the month of Ramadan and until Eid al Fitr. In the event that the workers return to the West Bank during the aforementioned period, they won’t be allowed back in Israel until Eid al Fitr over coronavirus fears.

This is the second time Israel allows Palestinian workers to enter its territory under such conditions. The workers’ employers are responsible for their sleeping arrangements in Israel. (Hagar Shezaf)

9:53 A.M. Netanyahu mulls shelving Shin Bet tracking scheme, official says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering halting legislation allowing cellphone tracking of quarantined coronavirus patients by the Shin Bet security services, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri said on Thursday.

In March the government approved an emergency order allowing the Shin Bet to track the cellphone of suspected and confirmed coronavirus patients. (Jonathan Lis)

>> Click here to read the full report

9:24 A.M. Israel confirms 15,870 coronavirus cases, as number of fatalities rises to 219

The Health Ministry said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 15,870, of whom 117 are in serious condition. The virus has so far claimed the lives of 219 Israelis, while 8,412 have recovered. (Haaretz)

7:10 A.M. Israel lifts 500-meter restriction on outdoor sports

Israelis will be allowed to engage in physical activity with no distance limit from their home starting Thursday, as part of the steps the government is taking to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Until now, physical activity was only permitted within 500-meter from one’s home. (Haaretz)

4:00 A.M. Yemen reports first coronavirus deaths

Yemen has reported its first two deaths from the novel coronavirus, its health minister told Yemen TV.

Earlier, Yemeni authorities reported five coronavirus infections in Aden, after the United Nations said it feared the disease could be spreading undetected in a country where millions face famine and lack medical care. Previously Yemen had detected only a single case.


10:00 P.M. Israelis visiting malls, markets will have to download mandatory tracking app

Shopping malls and markets across Israel, shut due to the coronavirus outbreak, will only be allowed to reopen after the development of a tracking system that would monitor all visitors, Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said at a Monday meeting.

All customers will be required to install a tracking app on their phone to enter shopping malls and markets, once these reopen. The app, which according to Bar Siman Tov is already in stages of development, will be part of a control system that would allow authorities to keep a tab on the number of visitors at any given moment.

The app would let authorities track the locations visited by confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients, allowing rapidly conduct contact tracing. It remains unclear whether shopping mall managers would have any access to the data collected by the app and whether the applications will continue to monitor people after they leave the mall. Moreover, app development responsibilities will be placed on mall managers, but it is uncertain who will oversee them. (Ido Efrati)

9:49 P.M. Israel marks 487 recoveries, 106 new cases in a day

According to the Health Ministry, 115 of Israel's 15,834 cases are in severe condition, with 90 of them on ventilators. So far, 215 have died and 8,233 have recovered.

9:00 P.M. Kindergartens, grades 1 through 3 to resume Sunday amid protests from teachers and administration

Kingergartens, along with school grades 1 through 3, will reopen on Sunday, in small groups and to a limited extent. The opening of further educational institutions will be dependent on discussions which will take place National Security Council meeting this Friday.

School administrators today protested the decision to reopen schools on such short notice, without giving principals the opportunity to learn and respond to the regulations for the return, which were released just hast Tuesday. "We call on the Education Ministry to stop, and prepare properly … and collaboration with school principals" heads of the "Leaders" organization wrote, "in setting a deadline, and only after that, build a plan of action based on a realistic schedule."

Elementary school teachers, who will resume teaching this week, also expressed concern that while grades 1 through 3 will continue five days a week, kindergarten classes would take place in small groups, so that each child would only be present at the kindergarten three days a week, posing a problem for teachers with small children.

Daycare centers and private kindergartens are currently threatening not to open next week on the grounds that they have incurred debts in recent weeks and that the limited format of the return to study will not be financially viable. "What do they expect teachers to do," a teacher wondered, "to go to school and leave the toddlers home alone?" (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

7:21 P.M. Health Ministry says over 20,000 tests performed in last 48 hours

According to the Health Ministry, 10,881 tests were done on Tuesday and 10,476 on Monday.

6:46 P.M. Arab Israeli parents committee opposes return to school amid virus fear

Heads of parents' committees in Arab society oppose the gradual return to school early next week because of concern over the spread of the coronavirus in Arab communities. The committee, along with local authorities, issued an offical statement that they did not intend to return the children to school and will instead wait until the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr in the last week of May.

"Our decision is a definitive and clear," said the chairman of the parents committee in Tira, Mu'ataz Iraqi, adding that every parent understands the financial pressure needed to return children to schools gradually, but the fear of the virus spreading has not yet passed in the Arab communities and therefore the danger is palpable in this regard. (Jack Khoury)

2:06 P.M. Attempted arson at tax office branch may be linked to self-employed hurt by coronavirus crisis

Police are investigating an attempted arson at the an income tax authority branch office in the central Israeli city of Holon. On the wall of the building, the anonymous assailant spray painted "The blood of the self-employed is not cheap," and police suspect that the arson attempt is part of protests carried out by self-employed workers and freelancers, who have been particularly hard-hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. No one was injured in the attempt, but property was damaged. (Bar Peleg)

1:46 P.M. City of Bnei Brak posts danger signs in buildings with confirmed coronavirus cases

Authorities in Bnei Brak, the ultra-Orthodox city that has accounted for 15 percent of the country's coronavirus infections, have begun putting signs inside buildings warning that a confirmed coronavirus patient is living or staying there. According to ultra-Orthodox newspapers, this is being done as an attempt to pressure infected people into entering government-run quarantine facilities.

There are 1,450 active cases in Bnei Brak, with hundreds in facilities and some 400 remaining in private homes. The government has created special facilities for ultra-Orthodox patients so that they can continue to observe religious law, but convincing Bnei Brak residents, many of whom have large immediate families they don't want to be separated from, to enter them. (Ronny Linder)

12:59 P.M. Iran death toll from coronavirus reaches 5,957

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 80 in the past twenty four hours to 5,957, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV on Wednesday.

The total number of diagnosed cases of new coronavirus in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has reached 93,657, he said. (Reuters)

10:35 A.M. Number of Israeli cases rises to 15,782, death toll at 212; recoveries surpass active cases

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 15,782, the Health Ministry says. In the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 193 new cases were diagnosed. Ninety-one patients are on a ventilator, with 352 patients hospitalized. The number of recoveries, 7,929, has surpassed the number of active cases, 7,641. (Haaretz)

3:26 A.M. Mainland China reports 22 new coronavirus cases vs 6 a day earlier

Mainland China reported 22 new coronavirus cases for April 28, up from 6 reported a day earlier, putting its total number of COVID-19 infections to date at 82,858. The total number of deaths in the mainland from COVID-19 remained unchanged at 4,633. (Reuters)

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