Coronavirus Updates From Israel: April 23

Dear Friends,

This past week in Israel we have begun our slow exit out of isolation, in many respects, and life is beginning to go back to normal. We have seen a sharp decrease in the rate of coronavirus infection and we are successfully “flattening the curve.” 

This is due to many things, including early detection, and the system of our volunteer medics who have been responding to each call in a professional expedient manner. This method – calling 101 and getting treated at home – has  kept our hospitals clear. There has been no panic and no overcrowding. 

Unfortunately, we have had a large number of caskets arrive from abroad this week, which saddens us tremendously. We understand how the rest of the world is suffering.  

Tuesday we commemorated Yom haShoah. All those black & white images of a sinister time in history, when Jews had nowhere to go. We were a stateless people. Now, in contrast, Israel is not just “a place Jews can go,” we are the best place to be. Israel is leading the world in the fight on the coronavirus, and countries are looking to us for direction, seeking advice from our leaders and medical community. Little Israel. Who had to fight tooth and nail for every inch.   

We look forward to sharing continued good news with you.

Natalie Sopinsky
Director of Development
Rescuers Without Borders

The Latest Update on Coronavirus in Israel

Now that we are on the other end of Passover, Israelis are as eager as ever to start returning to some semblance of normalcy. This Sunday, the Ministry of Health released new official regulations, slightly lessening restrictions (see the full update below).

While this is far from over, we’re hopeful. We’re hopeful because we believe in our intelligent and hard working medical professionals. We’re hopeful because we believe in our brave volunteers and soldiers who are helping in this fight. We’re hopeful because we have access to top-grade medical equipment and products. We’re hopeful because so many have now recovered from the virus, that we appear to be on the other end of the curve.

These are the current stats: there are currently just over 14,803 active cases of coronavirus in Israel. Over 5,600 have recovered, while 109 are on ventilators, and there have been a little over 190 deaths.

Front Line Risks: Our Medic Infected

Elchanan, one of our volunteer medics from the Tzur Hadassah community, has tested positive for the coronavirus. This is one of the risks our medics are faced with everyday now. We hope he will be back on his feet, out in the field again soon. He is pictured here with the “get well” gift we brought him. 

No Citizen Gets Left Behind

In the week leading up to Passover, the country was quickly shutting down. For many, that meant missing out on the usual flurry of shopping for new clothes and toys in honor of the holiday. It also meant no family vacations and no daily outings.

So we did something about it.

Our volunteers brought countless boxes of toys to the children under quarantine in Beitar Illit, a settlement outside of Jerusalem. When it comes to challenging circumstances, we know that the emotional health of children can be so fragile. So while we (thankfully!) have less to do for the children in the Jewish towns along the Gaza strip, like Sderot, we know that the coronavirus pandemic is having an effect on quarantined children throughout the country.

This was our way of standing in solidarity with other Jews, and standing up for the emotional health of our nation’s children.

Collective Sigh of Relief as Restrictions Start to Ease

It’s no secret that Israel has been fast and furious in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in terms of enforcing restrictions. It’s also clear that some neighborhoods have been harder hit with the virus. This means that those areas are asked to follow slightly stricter social-distancing guidelines. Still, many were waiting with bated breath for news on the long-awaited-for ease of restrictions. And they have finally come!

These are the current restrictions set in place here in Israel:

1. Mandatory “Purple badge” certification for all workplaces, which require all employees to wear face masks, conduct daily temperature checks, and regularly sterilize all surfaces.
2. Face masks must be worn in public; there will be 200 NIS fine for noncompliance.
3. People may travel 500 meters away from their home for either prayer or exercise; sports and exercise can be up to 2 people, with masks. Prayers outside are allowed up to 19 people, with masks, standing at least 2 meters apart from each other.
4. Circumcisions and weddings are permitted with the 2 meter rule restriction, but can be attended by only ten people.
5. Special education programs will reopen in small groups (up to 3 families). Playgroups can also begin, with no more than 3 families per group.

Social distancing is to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

While this is far from “back to normal,” many are greatful for the opportunity to stretch their legs a little more.

The IDF: An Unstoppable Force of Good During Pandemic

Our soldiers work hard. If it’s not a new round of terrorist activities, it’s helping Israelis up and down the country. And we couldn’t be more proud. While many of us are going about our daily lives (or attempting to do so), our soldiers are busy delivering meals, operating COVID-19 drive-through tests, and helping the Israeli police enforce Ministry of Health guidelines.

Chayalei Yisrael (soldiers of Israel), we’re proud of you!

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הצלה ללא גבולות - Rescuers Without Borders

Rescuers Without Borders is an Israeli volunteer organization, with a network of over 1,600 medics, paramedics, and doctors, who are committed to saving lives.