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Israel Update 7.5.20



At the time of writing (Thursday afternoon) Israel’s coronavirus death toll remains at 239 since Wednesday, with no deaths reported overnight. As of Thursday morning, there are 16,346 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel with 64 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours mostly inside ultra-Orthodox areas.  83 people are in serious condition down from 86, with 69 patients needing ventilator support. The Health Ministry said there are 5,370 people currently infected with the pathogen, while 10,737 patients have recovered from the disease. Read more here


An easing of social distancing restrictions was announced on Monday. Visits to immediate family members are permitted, including grandparents, but with social distancing maintained. Gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed in open areas, to be expanded to up 50 people on May 17. Other key phases of Israel’s strategic exit plan here, including the opening of malls, outdoor markets, universities, sports & leisure, parks, hotels etc:Read more here


By last Friday, 80% of Israeli towns had reported no new cases for several days. Read more here


Human rights activist Natan Sharansky has chosen to donate his $1 million 2020 Genesis Prize to organizations fighting the coronavirus pandemic and supporting individuals most affected by it. Read more here




In the past few weeks, especially since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, IDF soldiers, assisted by dozens of Palestinian volunteers have been distributing food parcels to families in East Jerusalem Arab neighbourhoods. Many residents expressed gratitude to Israel on social media platforms for its assistance. Medical equipment was also distributed. Read more here




The Israel Institute for Biological Research has isolated a key coronavirus antibody that successfully neutralized aggressive coronavirus in lab tests. After the monoclonal neutralizing antibody is patented, the institute will find an international manufacturer to mass produce it as a treatment.  To begin the regulatory approval process, the IIBR antibody will undergo several months of additional testing.Read more here




Israel’s first vaccine production facility will be built in Yeruham. Tens of millions of vaccine units will (eventually) be manufactured to ensure Israeli self-sufficiency. Read more here


An update on MigVax, an affiliate of the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, which is pioneering the effort to develop Israel’s human vaccine against COVID 19. Read more here




Some 80% of elementary schools reopened for many of their pupils on Sunday for the first time in seven weeks. About 60% of the eligible schoolchildren, reportedly some 180,000, went to school Sunday. Read more here


An Epidemiological report released by Israel’s Health Ministry says that children are 20-50% less likely to get infected, depending on age; infants are more vulnerable and contagious.Read more here




Israel will begin serological testing this week to determine if a person has been exposed to the virus and, if so, whether the patient has developed antibodies against it. Roche’s Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 test, will be used by Gamidor Diagnostics, the exclusive representative of Roche in Israel. The country will be one of the first in the world to implement the test.  Read more here


An algorithm-based testing method which allows accurate simultaneous  screening of  dozens of samples, significantly reducing the cost, time and quantity of testing kits required, has been developed by a group of Israeli researchers. The method is currently the object of an ongoing clinical trial at Soroka hospital, while the Health Ministry has alsoapproved a pilot project in several Israeli centres.  Read more here


Israeli startup Nanoscenthas started a trial with Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre to identify people infected with the coronavirus via a simple nasal breath test. If proven successful, the technology could be used for mass 30-second screening of people, at stores, hospitals, and airports or border entries. Read more here




Researchers from Ben-Gurion University have designed a new face mask to assist those with hearing disabilities who often read lips as their primary form of communication. The mask was manufactured using a 3D printer at Zinman Darca High School. Read more here


The Israeli startup Sonovia, which sped up efforts to manufacture masks using its anti-pathogen fabric at the start of the coronavirus crisis in Israel, has launched commercial sales. Sonovia started manufacturing its product in March, and has sold 30,000 masks, mostly to distributors and nonprofits in the United States.   Read more here




The IDF’s naval commando unit, Shayetet 13, has been making nonstop deliveries of oxygen cylinders to civilian care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, due to its extensive experience in scuba-diving and the ability to compress oxygen gas into cylinders.In the past three weeks they have delivered more than 500 oxygen tanks. Read more here


Tel Aviv University announced plans to establish a new multidisciplinary epidemic research centre, describing the new facility as the first of its kind worldwide.The Centre for Combating Pandemics will bring together university experts from different academic fields, including medicine, biology, mathematics, physics, economics, engineering, education and psychology. Read more here




One of the virus’s characteristics contributing to making it so infectious is its ability to survive on surfaces for a long time. A team of Ben Gurion University researchers are working to develop a nanomaterial coating, that can be painted on to different surfaces, which has the ability to kill the virus. Read more here


Israeli company, ASI Technologies has a solution to scan the temperature of a large number of people entering a facility like a shopping mall, in a limited amount of time. This could be extremely helpful as countries are starting to lift restrictions on activities. Read more here


A large number of coronavirus patients were ultimately infected by secondary bacterial infections.  New research by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem team has developed an injectable antibiotic that could have a deep impact not only in treating COVID-19 patients but also those affected by antibiotic-resistant infections.  Read more here




A group of doctors, nurses and lab technicians from Hamas-run Gaza received  training inside Israel without coordination with the PA Health Ministry. Reportedly, the Gaza government also refused to send samples to Ramallah to be tested for the coronavirus and sent them to Israel instead. Read more here




The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the Palestinians’ mutually dependent relationship with Israel, as both sides are jointly implementing practical measures to keep the situation under control at home and next door. The PA reacted swiftly and efficiently, declaring a state of emergency, closing schools and mosques, and severely restricting movement into and within the West Bank. Read more here


Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank entered Israel to work on Sunday after weeks of absence.An Israeli security official said the decision to let workers in was reached jointly with the Palestinians and aimed at ensuring “they would not lose their jobs and would be able to continue supporting their families.”Some 120,000 Palestinians worked in Israel and Israeli communities in the West Bank before the pandemic’s outbreak. Read more here




Israel’s El Al airline will operate 60 humanitarian cargo flights from Wuhan, China, to several major European cities via Israel.The first flight was scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday, carrying masks and protective suits, before taking off for London. Read more here



Israeli humanitarian aid nonprofits SmartAID and IsraAID have teams across the world from Los Angeles to Vanuatu distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to healthcare workers, law enforcers, firefighters and others during the coronavirus crisis. Read more here




Israel is among seven nations that have made progress in combating the coronavirus, which are joining together to promote tourism and trade between them as they look to rebuild economies battered by the virus. The countries are: Austria, Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Israel and New Zealand. Reportedly, before opening their borders the countries would establish common protocols including masks, safe distances and testing. Read more here


The Tourism Ministers of Israel, Greece and Cyprus have been discussing a proposal to create a safe zone for tourism between the countries. Israel is cautiously examining the Greek initiative, which would not go into effect at least until mid-June.  Read more here




Gazan terrorists fired early Wednesday a rocket into Israel that landed in an open area. In response IDF tanks shelled three Hamas military positions. Read more here


A Palestinian crashed his car into a West Bank checkpoint on Wednesday evening last week and was arrested. Read more here




Intel is buying Moovit, the Israeli startup with an urban mobility app used by hundreds of millions of commuters worldwide, for about $900 million. From its origins in 2012 as a provider of real-time arrival and departure data for bus and rail riders in Tel Aviv, Moovit has grown into a powerhouse providing commute-planning services for 800 million users in more than 3,000 cities in over 100 countries. Read more here




Reportedly, Egypt has destroyed more than 3,000 tunnels along its border with Gaza in the past 5 years. Some of the tunnels were 3 kilometres long and 30 metres deep. Read more here




Herb Keinon: …it is not the normal that we knew before the term COVID-19 became a fixture in our vocabulary. It’s a new normal. A two-metre space between us normal, a mask fixed on our face normal, a world without concerts and sports events normal.It’s better than a lockdown, but it is not a return to life before corona. Rather, it is life in the presence of corona. Read more here


Yossi Klein Halevi: Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens are facing a crisis that is bringing us together. Israel’s health-care system is fully integrated. Nearly a fifth of Israel’s doctors, a quarter of its nurses, and almost half its pharmacists are Arabs. Arab doctors head hospital departments and emergency rooms; one heads a hospital in the Galilee. Read more here