Israel Registers First Coronavirus Death as Number of Cases Surges Past 800

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.

Bypassing the necessary approval from the Knesset, the government approved the tracking of cellphones by the Shin Bet security service in order to inform people who unwittingly came in contact with confirmed coronavirus patients.

Israel saw its first fatality from the virus: Eighty-eight-year-old Arie Even, who suffered from other illnesses and arrived at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center about a week ago in critical condition.  

■ 883 Israelis have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild and 36 recoveries. One patient has died and 15 are in serious condition. In the West Bank, 52 cases have been diagnosed so far, and 17 have recovered, the majority of them in Bethlehem. Another 3,900 Palestinians have been placed in quarantine.

■ Israel's government approved additional 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

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 69

Will Israel’s cyber spies let Bibi use coronavirus to kill democracy?Haaretz

■ All foreigners are not allowed to enter Israel, unless they apply for speical 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


7:15 P.M. 28,000 more Israelis register for unemployment benefits

The Government Employment Agency reported an increase in the number of Israelis applying for unemployment benefits after 28,000 applied in a day, bringing total to 503,915 so far since the beginning of the month. (Lee Yaron)

7:00 P.M. Israeli courts operate as usual, despite conflicting reports, says Supreme Court Justice

Israel’s Superme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut released a statemment to “clarify that courts keep operating across the country, as a vital service.”

According to Hayut’s statement, denying some media reports on restrictions to the court system’s activity, an operating justice system is “important… particularly in such unprecedented time.” (Netael Bandel)

6:45 P.M. Israelis begin testing for coronavirus at a drive through testing station in Tel Aviv

Aryeh Iben.Courtesy of the family

More than 350 Israeli citizens have been tested for the coronavirus at the "test and drive" station at the Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv so far.

Three more drive through testing stations will begin operating soon across Israel. 

In total, since the virus began to spread worldwide, Magen David Adom's paramedics have taken test samples from about 14,000 people across the country. (Magen David Adom)

6:30 P.M. Turkey imposes curfew on elderly, chronically ill citizens (Reuters)

– Empty Tel Aviv from bird’s-eye-view