The number of Israelis diagnosed with coronavirus jumped to 677 Thursday evening, the Health Ministry said, the sharp rise at least partially attributable to increased testing throughout the country.
Six of the patients are in serious condition, 13 are in moderate condition, and the rest are showing mild symptoms; 14 people have recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus.
In recent days the Health Ministry has boosted testing for the virus from some 500-700 tests a day to around 2,200 per day and Netanyahu said the number of tests would increase to 3,000 per day by Sunday and 5,000 per day by the following week.
The Mossad spy agency reportedly brought some 100,000 coronavirus test kits into the country, amid claims of insufficient medical equipment in hospitals and clinics. But Itamar Grotto, the deputy director-general of the Health Ministry, said the kits did not contain the equipment medical officials were most in need of — swabs.
Israeli officials are hoping that strict measures limiting movement will help stem the virus’ spread before it gets worse, but authorities have said Israel may soon see cases in the thousands and its first deaths from the pathogen.
“This is a step unlike any since the founding of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel has never faced anything like the coronavirus.”
The steps taken so far have slowed the spread of the virus, “but the pandemic continues to spread,” the prime minister continued. “In Israel… the numbers of those who are sick is growing daily. Nobody has died, but that unfortunately is not likely to continue…there are likely to be many victims.”
Header: Technicians carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus at a lab in central Israel. (Flash90)