Coronavirus Live: Palestinian Authority Locks Down Hebron, Nablus as Cases Rise

Israel tops 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases ■ Governmental research center says Israel entering second wave ■ Cultural events of up to 250 allowed

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh take a tour as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions ease, in Ramallah, West Bank, June 15, 2020.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh take a tour as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions ease, in Ramallah, West Bank, June 15, 2020.Credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS
Haaretz

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Israel has seen a spike in coronavirus cases as schools, businesses, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions and other establishments reopen. Schools throughout the country have closed after cases tied to students and staff members continue to climb. 

■ 20,633 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 305 people have died. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 810 people tested positive; two people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 72 people were diagnosed and one person has died. 

■ Coronavirus tracker: Live stats of cases and deaths

LIVE UPDATES

8:59 A.M. Coronavirus infection chances rise in closed spaces, government agency says

The National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus issued a document warning that the chance being infected with the coronavirus significantly rises in closed spaces, particularly crowded areas with limited ventilation.

According to the agency, these conditions allow for the accumulation of viruses in high quantities. The document added that wearing masks is a very efficient measure to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, and therefore wearing them in closed spaces is critical.

In addition, a high number of people present at the same closed space allows and even promotes new infections. An analysis of cases of infection around the world shows the vast majority of known mass infections occurred in closed spaces. The document also noted that during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel in March, most registered infections took place in closed spaces. (Ido Efrati)

SATURDAY

10:32 P.M. Israel sees 294 new coronavirus cases, one death

The Health Ministry reported that Israel now has 20,633 coronavirus cases, a rise of 294 since Friday evening. Forty are now in severe condition, and 27 are on ventilators. 

There has also been one death from the disease, bringing the total COVID-19 death toll in Israel to 305.

On Friday, 12,765 coronavirus tests were carried out. 

9:00 P.M. Netanyahu weighs renewing Shin Bet tracking of coronavirus patients

As the number of coronavirus cases in Israel grows, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering resuming measures to allow the Shin Bet secret service to track confirmed and suspected cases, sources familiar with the issue told Haaretz.

The proposed legislation would let the government use the security service's geolocation capabilities to identify locations where confirmed patients have been and other people they may have come in contact with, based on their cellphone data.

Legislation on employing Shin Bet tracking has been frozen since early June, and the government is still in the process of seeking civilian alternatives. (Noa Landau)

Read the full report

8:52 P.M. PA says 108 Palestinians tested positive Saturday

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported 24 new cases in the past few hours, 22 in Hebron and two in Nablus. Since Saturday morning, 108 Palestinians have tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are currently 365 active cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and another 15 in the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)

Read the full report 

8:25 P.M. Municipality seeking to open coronavirus hotel in Jaffa among rise in cases

The Tel Aviv-Yaffo Municipality is working to establish a coronavirus hotel in Jaffa as the city continues to see an outsize rise in cases.
Coronavirus hotels house patients who have tested positive for the virus and must sequester themselves, but do not require hospitalization. Such hotels in Ashkelon, Jerusalem and the north are now at 80 percent capacity, and the Dan Panorama hotel in south Tel Aviv is reserved for those in self-isolation who have not tested positive for the virus.  

The municipality is working to find a 200-room hotel to accommodate Jaffa's patients, who seek a solution closer to home. 

A senior municipality official told Haaretz that on certain days in the past two weeks, the percentage of positive coronavirus tests from the Jaffa neighborhoods of Ajami, Tsahalon and Hisachon have doubled. Infection rates in the city are 15 times what they were at the height of the first wave, the official added. 

A coronavirus drive-thru facility in the Bedouin city of Ar'arat an-Naqab, March 30, 2020
A coronavirus drive-thru facility in the Bedouin city of Ar'arat an-Naqab, March 30, 2020Credit: rami shllush

Most of Jaffa's cases are young, the official said; 43 confirmed cases were found in one school. Police and municipal forces have been enforcing coronavirus measures. The municipality added that they want to reestablish the testing facility for all HMOs in the city. (Bar Peleg

7:05 P.M. PA announces new West Bank restrictions

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced new restrictions in the West Bank, including a five-day lockdown in the Hebron District and a 48-hour curfew in the Nablus District, following a rise in new coronavirus cases.

Most gatherings will be banned, including weddings, graduation parties and conferences, and funerals will be limited in size.

According to Shtayyeh, cases rose after many restrictions were lifted because people haven’t been abiding by the regulations issued by the government. He also said many new cases originate from Palestinian workers or patients who went into Israel and then returned to the West Bank. “I call all of our brothers within the Green Line not to enter the West Bank at all for 14 days,” he said (Jack Khoury)

Read the full report 

3:11 P.M. Coronavirus center warns: Israel entering second wave, could reach thousand cases a day within a month

Israel is entering its second wave of the coronavirus, a report released Saturday by the National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus. Experts at the center warn that if immediate measures are not implemented, the national infection rate can reach a thousand new cases a day within a month. The comprehensive death rate may grow by hundreds.

According to the report, new confirmed cases fell to about 16 a day in mid-May. Over the past week, the number has spiked to around 200 daily diagnoses, with Wednesday and Thursday seeing about 300 a day. The report's writers claim that the characteristics of this second wave differ from those of the first, but are no less severe.

The report's writers recommend immediately rolling back new steps that allow for larger gatherings, increasing public awareness, enforcing quarantine and other measures on the part of the government and the public. If these steps are not taken, they warn, "the State of Israel may in another month demand very painful economic and social decisions." (Amos Harel) 

Read the full report here

1:50 P.M. Active cases in West Bank rise to 342

The number of active cases in the West Bank has risen from 290 to 342, the Palestinian Health Ministry has said. Most of these, 258, area in the Hebron area. Authorities have placed restrictions on residents in Hebron and Nablus, and plan to do so in Bethlehem on Sunday. (Jack Khoury)

8:50 A.M. 32 new cases diagnosed in Hebron area

Thirty-two new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the Hebron area, bringing the total number of active cases in the area to 209. There are 290 active cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as 15 in the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)

FRIDAY

8:03 P.M. Cultural events of up to 250 people approved

The Knesset approved emergency measures Friday that allow for cultural events with up to 250 people in attendance and with 75 percent capacity. In exceptional cases, the director general of the Culture Ministry is able to approve events of up to 500 people. 

The measure applies to theaters, cinemas, concerts, musical performances and literary events. The legislation demands that the audience sit in designated seats and does not allow for dancing. Violating the guidelines is a crime that carries a penalty of six months in prison or a fine of up to 14,400 shekels, or about $4,170. (Noa Landau)

6:45 P.M. Palestinians report 858 overall cases

The Palestinian Health Ministry announced Friday that the number of cases in the West Bank and Gaza rose to 858, among which 592 have recovered. 

Out of 261 active cases, 246 are located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with 170 in Hebron alone, and 15 in the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)

6:04 P.M. Health Ministry reports 20,339 cases

The Health Ministry reported 152 new coronavirus cases since midnight Friday. It marks an increase of 96 cases from Friday morning, bringing the national total to 20,339. Of those, 4,449 are active COVID-19 cases.

2:40 P.M. Health Minister orders boost to number of coronavirus contact tracers

Israel's new Health Minister Yuli Edelstein instructed the ministry to boost the number of contact-tracers responsible for identifying people that were in contact with verified patients and were potentially infected with the coronavirus. The minister made a special budget available to hire 300 more contact-tracers in order to make the interrogations where patients are asked where they were and who they were in contact with faster, thereby intercepting the chain of infections. (Haaretz) 

2:15 P.M. 80 more people tested for the coronavirus in Rahat

Clalit Health Services has tested 80 residents of Rahat, which emerged as one of Israel's coronavirus hotspots, for the coronavirus on Friday. Testing efforts are ongoing in the Bedouin city in southern Israel as most of its neighborhoods have been put under lockdown. More than 500 people were tested over the last week. (Haaretz)

12:15 P.M. 19 new cases confirmed in West Bank

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 19 new cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in the last 24-hours in the Hebron area. 

Over the past three days the number of active cases has risen to 194 from 94 in the West Bank, most of them in the Hebron area, the Health Ministry said.

In the Gaza Strip, 11 people have recovered, bringing the number of active cases down from 26 to 15.

11.30 A.M. Israeli army confirms nearly 30 new cases

The Israel army said 280 on-duty officers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The large majority have recovered, with 47 active cases. All patients are in mild condition. On Monday, the number stood at 253, signaling to an increase of nearly 30 patients in the last 5 days. (Yaniv Kubovich)

11:00 A.M. Israel confirms 305 new coronavirus cases

Israel has confirmed 305 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20,243. This is the highest daily increase in recorded cases in over two months.

One patient has died, bringing the death toll to 304. The vast majority of the 4,372 active cases are in mild condition, with 28 patients on ventilators. 15,567 patients have recovered. (Haaretz)

THURSDAY

9:50 P.M. Areas in Bedouin Negev designated restricted zones

A ministerial committee examining the spread of the coronavirus announced that lockdown will be imposed on neighborhoods 13 and 24 of the city of Rahat, and neighborhood 2 of the city of Ar'arat an-Naqab in the Negev, following a sharp increase in coronavirus infections.

In addition, restrictions will be imposed on the Jaffa neighborhoods of Ajami, Tzahalon and Shikunei Hisachon. Educational institutions there will be shut until June 26, although high school students may sit their final exams, and gatherings of over 10 people will be prohibited. (Noa Landau)

7:30 P.M. Israel sees slight dip in new cases with 215 diagnosed

According to the Health Ministry, 4,177 active cases currently exist. Of those, 38 are in severe condition and 28 are on ventilators.

Twenty people have recovered from COVID-19 since midnight, the ministry statement said, out of a total of 15,518 recoveries overall. (Haaretz)

3:28 P.M. Palestinian health minister prepares for second wave in West Bank

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila announced the reopening of wards and medical centers designated for COVID-19 patients, as the West Bank prepares to contend with what she called a second coronavirus wave. The minister added visits to hospitals would be limited, as well as the number of elective surgeries performed in the West Bank. (Jack Khoury)

12:00 P.M. Netanyahu alarmed by rising infection rate, says might employ harsher measures

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday “There’s no doubt we’ll need to curb the disease, [infection rate] is going back up. We’re done with reopening the economy. There’s the question of flights, but we’re not going to reopen more.”

He added at a welcome ceremony for new Health Ministry director general that ministers will discuss further measures, including local lockdowns, in a Sunday meeting.

The public must adhere by the regulations, he said, “or we’ll have to employ harsher measures. We’ll do what’s necessary, as we did when the pandemic first hit our country.”

“We’re stopping reopening, and will now act in any way possible” to curb the spread of the coronavirus." (Haaretz)

11:45 A.M. Alarming coronavirus rates among Israel's Arab community as 37 new cases found in a day 

The Arab coronavirus emergency committee warned of alarming rates of cases in the community after 37 new cases were found in the past day, and 129 in the past three days. 

According to Health Ministry figures in Israel's Arab community, since the beginning of the crisis, 1,516 cases were recorded, not including mixed cities and East Jerusalem. Of these, 500 are active cases.

From Sunday to Wednesday evening, there has been a 10 percent increase in cases in Arab communities, and the Negev. (Jack Khoury)

11:00 A.M. Number of cases in Israel rises by 111

The number of coronavirus cases in Israel has risen by 288 to 19,894, of which 4,092 are active cases, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. There are 29 people on ventilators, and the death toll stand at 303. There were 15,970 tests conducted on Tuesday. (Haaretz)

6:18 A.M. PA governor of Hebron imposes closure amid spike in cases 

The Palestinian governor of Hebron decided to close all stores in two districts amid a spike in cases, according to a press release. The closure will last five days and will not affect food stores which will remain open.

Overnight, four more cases were diagnosed, raising number of infected Palestinians in the Hebron area to 37 in one day. The number of active cases in the West Bank now stands at 146. (Jack Khoury)

WEDNESDAY

11:00 P.M. Israel approves cultural events up to 250 people, up to 500 with special permission

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Culture and Sport Minister Chili Troper agreed, in cooperation with the National Security Council, will allow cultural events of up to 250 people. The decision is effective immediately.

Events with more than 250 atendees and up to 500 attendees may be held with special permission from the director of the Culture and Sports Ministry.

7:28 P.M. Trains to resume operations on Monday

The government has decided to resume train operations beginning on Monday, under restrictions that have yet to be provided to the public. According to the government, restrictions and instructions will be issued by the Transportation Ministry and national rail company. (Noa Landau)

7:17 P.M. Number of cases in Israel rises by 288

The number of coronavirus cases in Israel has risen by 288 to 19,783, of which 3,993 are active cases, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. There are 29 people on ventilators, with the death toll rising by one to 303. There were 15,970 tests conducted on Tuesday. (Haaretz)

7:10 P.M. Netanyahu says government hoping to decide within 24 hours on reopening cultural venues

After a meeting with representatives from the culture and events sectors of the economy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sed the government is hoping to reopen venues within the framework of government regulations. The goal is to complete discussions on the matter within 24 hours, Netanyahu said. (Haaretz)

7:00 P.M. 35 more cases diagnosed in West Bank

Thirty-five more coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the West Bank on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian health ministry – 33 from the Hebron area and two from Ramallah and El Bireh. (Jack Khoury)

5:55 P.M. 39 percent of current cases in Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality originate in Jaffa

Thirty-nine percent of the current coronavirus cases in the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, 166 out of 424, originate in Jaffa as of Sunday, according to official figures. Another 35 percent, 149, were asylum seekers or migrant workers. (Bar Peleg)

5:45 P.M. Netanyahu meets with representatives of cultural sector amid social protests

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun meeting with representatives from the culture and events sector, two days after thousands held a demonstration in Jerusalem to protest the government’s reluctance to reopen cultural events or compensate the industry’s 150,000 workers. (Noa Landau)

4:40 P.M. Cases rising in West Bank, 17 new cases in Hebron area

The number of cases in the West Bank continue to rise, with 17 new cases in the Hebron area being diagnosed, the Palestinian health minister said. (Jack Khoury)

3:15 P.M. Nine percent of Tel Aviv asylum seekers' and migrant workers' tests come back positive, authorities say

Around nine percent of the asylum seekers and migrant workers tested for the coronavirus in the Tel Aviv area were found to be infected, according to authorities.

As of Tuesday, 2,943 samples have been collected from asylum seekers and migrant workers in the Tel Aviv area. Of these, 245 tested positive, 26 were deemed "borderline positive," and 2,672 tested negative. This means 9.2 percent were positive or borderline.

Of the 245 samples that tested positive, 57 were taken from people sharing a household with confirmed cases, as were 9 of the 26 borderline cases. (Bar Peleg)

12:18 P.M. Be'er Sheva mayor quarantined 

Ruvik Danilovich, the mayor of the southern city of Be'er Sheva, announced that he had come into contact a few days ago with a coronavirus carrier, and has entered self-isolation. 

He sent out a message notifying residents Wednesday afternoon. (Almog Ben Zikri)

11:29 A.M. Knesset approves extension of coronavirus emergency measures

The Knesset approved extending the coronavirus emergency measures, which allows for the enforcement of  COVID-19 restrictions, which expired Tuesday overnight. The extended law, which went into effect Wednesday at 6 A.M., obligates Israelis to wear masks in public areas, enter quarantine after coming into contact with a confirmed or a suspected coronavirus patient and observe social distancing.    

The law also authorizes police to disperse gatherings and levy fines to those violating the restrictions. (Jonathan Lis)

11:10 A.M. More students, teachers test positive for virus, with 177 schools closed

In Israel's education system 635 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to statistics released by the Education Ministry. 22,738 school staff and students are currently in isolation. Meanwhile, the number of schools that have been closed remains steady at 177. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

10:38 A.M. Number of cases in Israel tops 19,600, as deaths stand at 303

The Health Ministry said that so far 19,637 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, with the number of active cases standing at 3,875. Twenty-six people are currently on ventilators and 303 have died. (Haaretz)

8:30 A.M. Knesset Votes to Restore Welfare Payments for Pandemic Jobless

The Knesset gave final approval to a bill that will enable those who have been laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic to receive both unemployment compensation for the period from March through June and other government allowances for which they were eligible.

As a result, more than 50,000 needy recipients, single mothers, the disabled and women between the ages of 62 and 67 who either lost their jobs or were put on unpaid leave following the COVID-19 outbreak, will receive thousands of shekels in retroactive payments that were deducted from their regular government assistance allowances for the months of March, April and May. The amended law will permit them to receive both unemployment compensation and government allowances for June as well. (Lee Yaron)

>> Read the full report

TUESDAY

11:08 P.M. Knesset passes law to keep emergency regulations in place

The Knesset plenum passed a second and third reading of the bill to amend and enforce emergency regulations, which was approved by the cabinet earlier in the evening.

The law will come into effect first thing tomorrow morning, effectively allowing several provisions, like the wearing of masks and quarantine regulations, to continue. 

In its last reading, the law was passed after ten lawmakers - out of 120 - voted in favor, and none against. (Jonathan Lis)

8:50 P.M. Government amends coronavirus regulations, extends them for another 45 days

The government amended existing coronavirus law, and banned the searching of private citizens without a court order - something that was possible thus far since last March - and eliminated prison sentences for violating coronavirus regulations.

Another change introduced outlaws the continuation to give supervisory powers to inspectors authorised under the Administrative Offenses Act, many of whom have not undergone the training required for supervisory operations under the coronavirus emergency regulations.

Additionally, the government approved the extension of the coronavirus regulations for another 45 days, with the possibility of an additional 45 days. (Jonathan Lis)

8:30 P.M. New cases diagnosed in West Bank

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said five more cases were diagnosed in the West Bank on Tuesday, four in Hebron and one in Ramallah.

Al-Kaila announced that the health system is preparing for a second wave of infections, and that this is due to people flouting social distancing regulations.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the police was ordered to increase enforcement in shops and public spaces. The government in Ramallah is not considering imposing stricter regulations or a lockdown at this stage, Shtayyeh added. 

To date, 695 Palestinians were diagnosed with COVID-19, 324 of them reside in the Jerusalem area, 299 in the West Bank, and the rest in Gaza. Of these, 120 cases are still active. (Jack Khoury)

7:32 P.M. Number of new daily cases continues to rise with 258

Of Israel's 19,495 cases, 3,744 are currently active. According to the Health Ministry, 14,371 tests were conducted on Monday.

There are currently 29 patients on ventilators, and 302 have died thus far from COVID-19. Twelve people have recovered in the last 24 hours out of a total of 15,449. (Haaretz)

4:30 P.M. Palestinian health minister says authorities preparing for second wave of infections

 The Palestininan Authority is preparing for a second wave of coronavirus infections in the West Bank as the number of cases is rising daily, the Palestinian health minister said Tuesday. (Jack Khoury)

1:20 P.M. Netanyahu and Greek PM say Greece will open to Israeli tourists August 1

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he aims to renew regular flights to and from Israel by August 1. In a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Netanyahu said: "We are looking now into reopening tourism, in which case Greece and Cyprus will be the first."

In a joint statement the two leaders delivered following their meeting at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem, Mitsotakis added that foreign tourists are important to Greece and his country will prioritize tourist's health and safety. "If all goes to plan, on August 1 we'll open tourist destinations to Israelis."

Read the full story

11:40 A.M. Head of Public Health Services warns government of renewed outbreak 'that cannot be ignored'

Dr. Sigal Sadetzki, Head of the Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, told the government committee on the coronavirus crisis, "It pains me to inform you that the virus is coming back. We are seeing a clear correlation between the reopening of the economy and the increased infection rate."

Sadetzki warned that Israel is seeing a high number of new infections, "with an emphasis on children," in 57 different communities. "That's a statistic that cannot be ignored," she said.

Sadetzki added that the increase in new confirmed cases cannot be attributed to the increased rate of testing, pointing out that the percentage of tests yielding positive results is also increasing.

MONDAY

9:20 P.M. Two arrested at cultural industry protest

Thousands joined a “demonstration of fury” in front of the Treasury on Monday to protest the government’s reluctance to reopen cultural events or compensate the industry’s 150,000 workers.

Confrontations with the police ensued, leading to the arrest of two protesters. 

Demonstators questioned how a fringe theater event is different than a synagogue gathering, which is permitted, or how a theater performance differs from a wedding. “The decision to leave cultural events closed carries a whiff of politics,” representatives of the Israeli Actors Guild said. (Nirit Anderman)

Read the full report

9:00 P.M. Treasury warns high school teachers won't get paid for coronavirus days if they don't work them back over summer

Israel's Finance Ministry said high school teachers will not be paid for the early days of coronavirus, when schools were closed but remote teaching had not been launched, if they refuse to work an extra nine days during the summer holidays. 

The Finance Ministry said it reached an agreement with the Teachers' Union, which should be binding for all teachers. But high school teachers, which are represented by another association, disagree with the arrangement. 

"Teachers fulfilled all their tasks according to ministry guidelines and the curriculum, and did not miss a single hour," Ran Erez, from the  Association of Secondary School Teachers, said. "They do not owe any hours and nothing should be detracted from their wages.” (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

Read the full report

7:22 P.M. Health minister blasts public figures, lawmakers who bypassed coronavirus regulations

Speaking in the Knesset plenum, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein criticized public figures who did not obey instructions in the fight against coronavirus.

"In this assembly, too, there are people who looked me in the eye when I commented on the mask, and said: 'Yuli, leave me alone, don't be like all the nuisances - there is no coronavirus.'," the Likud lawmaker said. 

"Those Knesset members were running amok looking for all kinds of tests, skipped the queue, called the director of [emergency service] Magen David Adom CEO, used every personal connection, I didn't understand why - there was no coronavirus," he added. 

The former Knesset speaker, who recently came into his post after a new government was inducted, called on his colleagues to "lead by example." (Ronny Linder)

7:20 P.M. Israel records another 113 cases, with active cases up to 3,520

According to the Health Ministry's daily roundup, the total number of cases has gone up to 19,237. 

Out of the 3,520 active cases, 35 are in serious condition, out of which 25 are on ventilators. 302 have died since the beginning of the crisis. (Haaretz)

3:40 P.M. Cases in the West Bank rise to 614

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that coronavirus cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have risen to 614, another 13 since the last figures were released.

Nine people tested positive in Hebron alone, of which six were children, the Health Ministry said.

There are currently 85 active cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 26 active cases in Gaza, out of a total of 72 overall. (Jack Khoury

12:10 P.M. Government watchdog to probe Shin Bet tracking

State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman said he will examine the Shin Bet security service's cellular tracking of coronavirus patients and relay his findings to the appropriate civil institutions. He will examine a number of other issues, including the government's conduct with regard to testing, remote learning and the economic crisis. (Haaretz)

11:40 A.M. Coronavirus hotspot identified in south Tel Aviv, Jaffa

More than 320 people tested positive for coronavirus in Tel Aviv in the past two weeks, the majority of them living in Jaffa and neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. Three percent of coronavirus tests in the area came out positive in the last two weeks.

According to health ministry data, 209 people with no residence status were diagnosed with coronavirus in Tel Aviv in the last two weeks. Many migrant workers and asylum seekers live in south Tel Aviv. 

Physicians for Human Rights Israel called on authorities to transfer patients with no legal status in Israel to quarantine centers and provide them with appropriate health services in order to stop community transmission. (Bar Peleg)

10:12 A.M. Two people die from coronavirus 

The COVID-19 death toll in Israel stands at 302, according to data by the National Security Council. To date, 19,128 people have been diagnosed, and more than 15,000 of them have recovered. (Haaretz)

SUNDAY

11:03 P.M. Israel has yet to decide when school year will end

Less than a week before the school year was originally supposed to end, it’s still not clear when the last day will be, as the Education Ministry and the Teachers' Unions continue to fight over the issue.

The Teachers' Union is threatening that if 10th grade teachers belonging to another union, the Secondary School Teachers' Association, don’t agree to extend the school year, it will retract its agreement to do so. In that case, all middle and high school classes taught by its members would end at the end of this week, while elementary schools would close on June 30. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

>> Click here to read the full report

10:20 P.M. 26-year-old Israeli dies of complications from COVID-19

A 26-year-old man died of complications from COVID-19 at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, the hospital announced. Oshri Asulin, of Kfar Saba, is the youngest coronavirus patient in Israel to pass away from complications related to the illness. (Bar Peleg)

8:20 P.M. Israel logs 83 new virus cases in 24 hours

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 19,055, an increase of 83 from the previous evening. The death toll remains at 300. Israel currently has 3,380 active cases of the coronavirus with 24 patients on ventillators. The vast majority of patients are in mild condition. (Haaretz)

4:30 P.M. Government appoints new Health Ministry director general 

The Israeli government approved Sunday the appointment of Prof. Hezi Levi, the former director of the Barzilai Medical Center,
as the new director general of the Health Ministry. Levi will replace Moshe Bar Siman Tov, who announced his intention to resign last month. 

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he was confident that Levi "will be very helpful in leading the [health] system in the challenging period ahead of us, especially in dealing with the coronavirus." According to Edelstein, "Levi has a great deal of experience in the health care system - in the IDF, in a hospital and in the Ministry of Health." (Haaretz)

7:49 A.M. Arab authority in Israel reports 16.6% increase in cases in past week, double from week before

Israel's Arab Emergency Committee announced that 48 new cases of coronavirus have been identified in the Arab community over the weekend. These figures do not include cities in which the population is mixed or East Jerusalem. 

This brings the weekly total to 196, with 137 alone diagnosed in Arab communities in the Negev. According to calculations based on data from the Ministry of Health, this represents an increase of 16.6% in the last week, compared with 8.5% in the week before.

The city of Baqa al-Gharbiya, in nothern Israel, in which eight cases were identified in the last week, including three over the weekend, decided to close schools until Tuesday. (Jack Khoury)

SATURDAY

9:20 P.M. Palestinians report 72 active cases in West Bank and East Jerusalem, 26 in Gaza

The Palestinian Health Ministry says 601 Palestinians have tested positive for the coronavirus in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, of which 72 are currently active cases. In the Gaza Strip, there are currently 26 active cases out of the 72 cases diagnosed since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the ministry. (Jack Khoury)

9:00 P.M. Employee at President's Residence tests positive for coronavirus

An employee at President Reuven Rivlin's Residence tested positive for coronavirus. The President's residence released a statement Saturday night saying that a meeting is being held with relevant Health Ministry officials regarding quarantine status for the rest of the employees and the relevant measures that need to be taken by the president. (Jonathan Lis)

8:50 P.M. 493 students and teachers test positive, 177 institutions closed

Statistics released Saturday evening by the Education Ministry show that 493 Israelis within the education system have tested positive for the coronavirus and 25,821 are currently in preventative quarantine, out of over 2 million students and 200 thousand educators. 

Thus far, 177 educational institutions have closed after discovering cases out of 5,200 schools and 20 thousand kindergartens. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

8:30 P.M. Number of cases in Israel nears 19,000, rising by 177 cases in a day

The number of total coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 18,972, the Health Ministry reported, marking a rise of 177 over Friday's figures. This marks the highest number of COVID-19 diagnoses in one day since April 25. 

There are 3,315 active cases, with 26 people on ventilators. The death toll remains at 300. The number of tests conducted Friday was 12,578, according to the ministry. (Shira Kadari-Ovadia)

8:00 P.M. Three of Netanyahu’s security personnel test positive for coronavirus

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tested negative for coronavirus after three of his security personnel that guard his residence tested positive. Netanyahu was not required to quarantine after the test. 

A statement by the prime minister's office said that an epidemiological investigation was launched and all those that were in contact with the guards were also tested. (Noa Landau)

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