Israel’s Cabinet to Debate Coronavirus Exit Strategy on Thursday as Deaths Reach 140

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.

■ 12,591 Israelis have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 140 people have died. In the West Bank, 316 cases have been diagnosed so far. Two have died. In Gaza, 13 cases have been diagnosed. Coronavirus world tracker: Live statistics of cases and deaths

■ The government has called upon Israelis to wear face masks in public to better protect themselves and others from the virus. Guidelines explained

■ The government has allowed the lockdown on the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, a coronavirus hotspot. On Thursday, it is debating whether to reimpose it, as well as extend a curfew on Jerusalem neighborhoods with a high infection rate. 


4:48 P.M. 9,268 coronavirus tests performed on Wednesday, Health Ministry says

4:45 Ministerial committee reinstates partial closure on Jerusalem, Bnei Brak neighborhoods

A ministerial committee in charge of handling the coronavirus crisis decided to partially renew the closure on the largely ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, which was badly hit by the pandemic.

According to the new restrictions, the prohibition on entering and exiting Bnri Brak is only valid when residents do so by public transportation.

In Jerusalem, residents living in restricted area will be able to go to work. This restriction will be in effect until April 19. (Noa Landau)   

3:05 P.M. Health Ministry mulls expanding Shin Bet security service's role in coronavirus battle 

Prof. Sigal Sadetsky, head of the Health Ministry's public health services division, said that the ministry is considering whether to have the Shin Bet security service track people in the "second circle" – those who had come into contact with people who were in the proximity of a confirmed coronavirus patient, and not only those who were close to a diagnosed case.

Speaking at a High Court session hearing petitions on the matter, a government representative said that the Shin Bet's tracking measures have helped locate and isolate 4,600 people who were diagnosed with the virus. (Netael Bandel)