Coronavirus Cases in Israel Surge Past 1,200 as Thousands Are Tested in a Day

As the highly contagious coronavirus spreads around the world, Israel and the Palestinians struggle to contain a local outbreak that has virtually halted daily life and led to tens of thousands of people entering quarantine.

■ 1,238 Israelis have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild and 37 recoveries. One patient has died and 24 are in serious condition

■ In the West Bank, 57 cases have been diagnosed so far, and 17 have recovered, the majority of them in Bethlehem. The Palestinian prime minister ordered a lockdown as of Sunday night 

■ In Gaza, two cases were diagnosed in patients who returned from Pakistan

■ Israel's government approved emergency measures to limit movement of citizens and trade, shuttering cultural and recreational establishments as well as schools and universities and banning gatherings of over 10 people. Read the complete guide to the lockdown

■ All foreigners are not allowed to enter Israel, unless they apply for special permits from the Foreign Ministry in advance and can prove they are able to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Read the full guide for tourists and Israelis

■ Click here for more information on the Health Ministry's official website on the corovavirus outbreak

– Netanyahu’s corona smokescreen and Gaza’s ‘God-help-us’ moment

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 70Haaretz


11:39 A.m. Netflix to reduce quality of streams in Israel to help ISPs

Netflix will comply with a government request to reduce stream quality in Israel to help ease data congestion from people staying home due to the coronavirus, the Communications Ministry said on Monday.

The world's largest streaming media service has also cut traffic on networks in Europe to help internet service providers (ISPs) experiencing a surge in usage.

Israeli ISPs have reported an average increase of as much as 30% since the outbreak began, prompting the telecoms regulator to ask Netflix to lower broadcasting bit rates.

Netflix, which had more than 42 million subscribers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East in the first quarter, agreed to comply and will make adjustments gradually over the next week, the ministry said in a statement.

"Given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus, we have decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Israel for 30 days. We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on Israeli networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service," the ministry quoted the streaming giant as saying.

In Europe, Netflix is removing its highest bandwidth within each resolution category for 30 days.

Many Israelis have taken to social media to complain of a slowdown in Internet speeds.

There was no immediate, separate comment from Netflix on the Israeli move. (Reuters)