(April 13, 2020 / JNS) Five Israelis succumbed to COVID-19 overnight on Monday, bringing the national death toll to 110. Four of the fatalities were elderly individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, while no details have yet been released regarding the fifth.
Israel’s Health Ministry listed 181 Israelis in serious condition with 133 people on ventilators as of Monday morning. More than 7,000 coronavirus patients are being treated at home, with 11,235 confirmed cases having been reported in total, according to the ministry.
Also on Monday, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron was laid to rest in a small funeral at Jerusalem’s Har HaMenuchot cemetery.
Bakshi-Doron, who served as chief rabbi from 1993 to 2003, passed away at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center from complications caused by COVID-19, five days after checking into the hospital with symptoms. He was 79 years old.
Current Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said in response to the news that “the rabbinic world, the Torah world and the halachah world lost one of its first pillars.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the rabbi “an important link in the Torah chain of scholars of Spain” and praised his “exceptional proficiency in Jewish sources merged with his noble dimensions.”
He added that “his essence was intelligence, tolerance and love for the people and the state.”
On Sunday evening, Health Ministry director general Moshe Bar Siman Tov warned Israelis not to ease social distancing and quarantine practices. Starting this week, Israelis are required to wear face masks covering the nose and mouth when venturing outside, and are to limit those excursions to the acquisition of food or medical supplies or treatments, or to distances from home a little shorter than a football field.
Also on Sunday, several Jerusalem neighborhoods were put on strict lockdown in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
According to the Health Ministry there are nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the capital Jerusalem, approximately 75 percent of which are in the city’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, which are now under lockdown until after the Passover holiday.
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