The number of coronavirus fatalities in Israel rose to 18 on Tuesday, after two female patients, both of whom suffered from prior medical issues, succumbed to the illness.

According to a Sheba Medical Center spokesman, however, “We see a daily increase in the number of patients in serious condition, among them younger patients with no underlying conditions. There aren’t many of them here, but they do exist.”

As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel was 4,831—among them 95 in moderate condition and 83 in critical condition. Of those, 69 patients are on ventilators. Meanwhile, 163 Israelis have recovered and have been released home from hospitals.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Health Ministry urged Israelis to use makeshift protective masks, rather than stocking up on surgical masks amid a worldwide shortage. Director general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said the ministry will release guidelines to the public on when and how to don masks.

“We’re not telling the public to go around with surgical masks,” he said, explaining that a piece of material would suffice.

The ministry also reported that Jerusalem leads the country in coronavirus cases, followed by Bnei Brak. Tel Aviv is third, with 278 cases.

On Tuesday morning, a 34-year-old patient attempted to escape a coronavirus ward at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias by jumping out of a third-floor window. According to reports, the patient was in mild condition prior to his jump, which resulted in serious injuries that will require surgery. He was initially admitted to the hospital following a period of quarantine and had spoken to social workers several times, Channel 12 reported.

“We are repeatedly alerted to the serious mental consequences that may occur following the outbreak of the virus,” said Dr. Zvi Fishel, head of the Israel Psychiatric Association, in a statement carried by the network.

Meanwhile, since last week there has been a consistent decline in the rate of coronavirus infections in Israel, former Health Ministry director professor Gabi Barabash told Channel 12 News.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to self-quarantine after a parliamentary aide tested positive for the virus. The prime minister later tested negative for COVID-19.

Israel will spend NIS 80 billion ($22 billion) to help the economy weather the coronavirus crisis, and on Monday, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that he expects a gradual return of business activity next month after the Passover holiday.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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