Passover Lockdown Begins as Israel Coronavirus Cases Top 9,400

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.

■ 9,404 Israelis have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 71 people have died. In the West Bank, 250 cases have been diagnosed so far. One woman in her 60s has died. In Gaza, 13 cases have been diagnosed.

■ Laboratory material shortages are forcing Israel to reduce testing, but Israel says it's planning on producing materials locally. The government has called upon citizens to wear face masks in public to better protect themselves and others from the virus. Guidelines explained

■ The ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, which has become a hotspot for the spread of the virus, has been put on lockdown. A general closure is in effect as of Tuesday, and a curfew as of Wednesday.

■ For the Health Ministry's official website on the corovavirus outbreak, click here.

– Haredi leaders learn harsh corona lesson as Israel sends in the troops

Haredi leaders learn harsh corona lesson as Israel sends in the troopsHaaretz


11:38 A.M. Two more Palestinians diagnosed with the coronavirus in West Bank, raising total to 250

The Palestinian Health Ministry said two more men had tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the toll of confirmed cases to 250 in the West Bank. One of them is a laborer from the Hebron area and the other is a paramedic from the Nablus area.

So far, 36 Palestinians have recovered in the West Bank and eight in the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)   

11:08 A.M. Israeli government increases grant for businesses amid coronavirus crisis

The government approved a grant of up to 10,500 shekels ($2,915) for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Those whose annual income reaches one million shekels will also be eligible to receive the grant, regardless of their spouses’ annual income. (Sivan Klingbail)   

10:09 A.M. Israeli government recognizes social workers as essential

The government classified social workers as essential employees and mayors are now obligated to allow them to work full time. (Lee Yaron)   

9:37 A.M. 85-year-old man dies of coronavirus, bringing toll to 71

An 85-year-old man with underlying conditions passed away from COVID-19 at Haemek Hospital in Afula. He is Israel’s 71st coronavirus fatality. (Noa Spiegel)

8:40 A.M. Number of coronavirus cases in Israel rises to 9,404 with 147 in serious condition

The Health Ministry said that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has gone up to 9,404, with 147 in serious condition, out of which 121 are on life support. (Ido Efrati)  

8:34 A.M. Israel registers 70 coronavirus deaths

Two more men, aged 96 and 97, died of the coronavirus at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, raising Israel’s death toll to 70.