On Our Way to a Second Wave?
On May 20th Israel announced it was loosening corona restrictions, allowing many to go back to work and allowing us at Tiferet Yeshua to hold weekly services of up to fifty people. A week after Israel began relaxing corona restrictions, the infection rate began climbing again, causing concern that we are on our way to a second wave of infections. This week alone Israel had its largest daily infection rate (288 cases) since April.
Everyone has experienced exhaustion with the social distancing and mask wearing in public. Once restrictions on restaurants and pubs were lifted, many young people threw off restraint and gathered for large parties. Possibly for that reason alone Tel Aviv has one of the highest infection rates in Israel at the moment. Schools were also reopened and, not surprisingly, they have been a source of virus outbreaks, with some shutting down not long after students returned. The word from teachers and students is that compliance with health guidelines in the schools is shoddy at best.
On June 8th the Prime Minister addressed the nation, warning that we would go back to a general lock-down if the numbers kept rising and re-emphasizing the three rules people must continue complying with: social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. Some experts are pointing out that the higher number of infections that Israel is seeing right now is partially due to the fact that the state has dramatically increased corona virus testing which naturally leads to an increase in the statistical infection rate. Additionally, the vast majority (99.6%) of those who are testing positive for corona right now are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.
Israel’s Corona Grade So Far
So how has Israel fared with its corona virus response overall? Looking at worldwide statistics, Israel has done fairly well handling the corona virus outbreak. Israel closed the skies early and quickly went into a general lock-down. The death rate from the corona virus in Israel has also been low ( 2% mortality rate) compared to other countries considered in good standing with their corona response, like Germany (5% mortality rate). Currently with the rising numbers of corona infections, the number of serious cases in Israel is still very low (1%) compared to Germany (6%), mainly due to the fact that those who are becoming infected in Israel tend to be younger.
On Our Way Back to Quarantine?
This week Israel Finance Minister Israel Katz told the media that Israel will put a break on the loosening of overall restrictions but it will not go back to a general shutdown. Instead of a general closure, the plan is to deal with outbreaks in “pinpoint manner with enforcement and quarantine”.
What about flying to and from Israel?
Currently anyone coming into Israel must go into a 14-day quarantine. Netanyahu and top government ministers met with their Greek and Cypriot counterparts this last week to discuss the possibility of removing the quarantine requirement between Israel, Greece and Cyprus on August 1st. The message for Israel’s tourism industry, which is large, is not a good one.
Increasingly experts are saying that the corona virus will most likely be with us for another year or two and that our societies must find ways of living with it in the meantime. The world has changed for good. As we continue our small meetings in Tiferet Yeshua, our prayer is that God would protect His people from the virus and that He would continue using us to be a light and blessing to our nation during this difficult time!