Israeli health officials on Sunday ordered all hospitals to prepare for immediate reopening of coronavirus wards due to a recent spike of the disease in the country.
Israel over the past few weeks has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 as more and more businesses reopen, with the daily toll topping 300 new cases on Friday for the first time since the peak of the epidemic in mid-April.
"In light of the recent increase in COVID-19 infections, number of hospitalized patients, number of severely ill patients and a rise in the number of medical staff in isolation following exposure to patients, our order is to prepare for the immediate reopening of special wards meant for coronavirus patients,” said Dr. Sigal Liberant-Taub, head of the General Medicine Department at the Health Ministry.
COVID-19 wards at several hospitals across the country have already reopened, having been shuttered since the end of April.
The announcement came less than a day after the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, part of IDF’s intelligence unit, said in a special report that Israel has entered the beginning stages of the second wave of coronavirus.
"The State of Israel is currently experiencing a second wave of coronavirus, which differs in its characteristics from the first wave, but is no less severe," said the report, adding that if no urgent action is taken in the foreseeable future to combat the spread, the daily infection numbers could reach up to 1,000.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry on Saturday said 294 people have been diagnosed with the pathogen over the past 24 hours, with one more person succumbing to the disease, bringing the country's total to 305.
The ministry added over the weekend the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization has increased from 146 to 192, representing a 30% rise.