Making a grim new record, there were 17 coronavirus fatalities in Israel on Wednesday, which constituted the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the country in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic.

This brought the total to 639 as of midnight, according to the Health Ministry. By Thursday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 643.

Also as of Thursday afternoon, there were 1,804 new cases, bringing the total number of infections since the beginning of the virus to 87,878, of which 23,251 are current cases, surpassing the number of known infections in China, where the coronavirus originated.

The Health Ministry breakdown by city puts the highest infection rates in ultra-Orthodox and Arab-majority towns and cities, with Modi’in Illit showing a 27 percent infection rate, followed by Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit and Elad, all of which are ultra-Orthodox towns. Arab towns such as Kafr Kassem, Dir Al-Assad and Kafr Manda all hover just below a 20 percent rate of infection.

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have a 4.74  and 12.09 infection rate, respectively.

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