As Israel sees the anticipated rise in coronavirus cases following the reopening of the economy and education system, Tel Aviv finds itself at the center of an outbreak with new cases being reported daily.
The Health Ministry said Monday that at least 182 coronavirus cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours, while the Israel’s death toll climbed to 302.
The one-day tally is in-line with a worrying upward trend in coronavirus infections being discovered in Israel over the past week. Many of the new cases have been traced back to Tel Aviv area, especially in the Jaffa neighborhood of Ajami and south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky market, where the infection rate is twice as high as the national average.
At least 397 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Tel Aviv currently suffer from symptoms.
The new cases include 11 employees at the city’s Ichilov Hospital, raising concerns of a wider outbreak at the medical center.
Among those reportedly infected are three doctors, two nurses and six allied health professionals.
Officials believe that staff broke social distancing regulations on several occasions, the latest being several days ago during a leaving party at the hospital.
According to sources, there were more than 20 people in the room, with most not wearing a protective face mask.
Shortly after the gathering, one of the doctors who were present received a phone call informing him that his wife and daughter were confirmed to be infected with the pathogen, prompting everyone present to enter quarantine.
Ichilov Director-General Prof. Roni Gamzu held several talks with the hospital’s staff on the importance of adhering to public health regulations.
However, several doctors at the medical center said that they only found out about the incident from other colleagues and were not notified of the matter by the administration.
Despite being Israel’s cultural and economic hub, Tel Aviv fell behind Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh – cities with a significant ultra-Orthodox population – during the initial months of the pandemic. That situation has now changed.
Also Monday, the Health Ministry reported 10 new cases of coronavirus at the Palace Tel Aviv nursing home, which is located next to Ichilov.
According to the ministry, five residents of the facility have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus.
Five staff workers were also found to be infected, while showing no symptoms and were put in quarantine.
Israel, like many other countries, has seen a sizeable number of cases of the virus in retirement homes and other assisted living facilities for the elderly.
i24NEWS contributed to this report
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