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Previously in Israel Currents (q/israel-currents)The timeline of the epidemic from the Israeli view-point.

This is part #8 of the timeline.

from 5th till 10th April 2020.

5 April ‘20: sun, 11 Nissan Israel: cases 8,018. 127 are very sick. 106 on full-clinical ventilators. Deaths 46. 477 have recovered.

Bnei Brak; Three [young] residents have died -so far of the infection. The city is in ‘lock-down’. The IDF is running the internal services in most of this 210,000 city. About 1000 IDF soldiers in teams [the Paratrooper Brigade] are delivering (12,000) meals & food to the doors of ‘locked-down’ residents. The IDF has a semi-trailer parked nearby- as the Chapak [coordinating HQ] for the command & control center.

Mea Shearim; most of the residents are following the M/H rules. A small group(s) of ‘extremists’ are ignoring the rules – the Police are proactive with fines and the occasional arrest.

Eilat; Massive unemployment. City is very quiet. Zero tourists. A R4.3 earthquake near Eilat-south of Aqaba.

Today, many Jews sell their Chametz to a Rabbi -on the web. Jews do not have any Chametz in their house over Passover. Chametz is regular bread or any dough product that has ‘risen’ after 18 minutes of preparation. (leaven or food mixed with leaven, is prohibited during Passover.)

Some 80,000 Self-employed will receive a money package from the Gov. -as support . This is about 300,000 mil shekels from the Budget.

Police have arrested a Jew -who -in Modiin Elite – went to a Synagogue -three times – & prayed with more than 10 other Jews- against the M/H rules.

A Sharav in Israel- A hot wind. Temp- Jm 28c, TLV 35c. Some rain.

** Israel to help Christians share ‘holy fire’ ritual amid pandemic.

This year Easter Sunday is the 12th April 2020.

The annual mysterious pre-Easter ceremony will be limited to 10 leaders, who will use creative means to deliver the flame to overseas communities

2019; “A classic photo from last year- will not be repeated this year. Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the Holy Fire as they gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 27, 2019 during the Orthodox Easter. “

JERUSALEM -Israel is working with foreign governments & Orthodox Christian leaders in the Holy Land to make sure that one of their most ancient & mysterious rituals – the Holy Fire ceremony – is not extinguished by the coronavirus outbreak.

Each year, thousands of worshippers flock to Jerusalem’s Old City and pack into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – built on the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried & resurrected – for the pre-Easter ceremony.

Top Eastern Orthodox clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus’ tomb, and exit with candles said to be miraculously lit with “holy fire” as a message to the faithful. The flame is normally shared with candle-holding pilgrims & even sent in special containers to Orthodox Christian communities around the world. Details of the flame’s source are a closely guarded secret.

This year; due to a ban on large public gatherings because of the pandemic, Israeli officials say the April 18 ceremony will be limited to about 10 religious leaders from various Orthodox denominations. They have also developed a creative way to deliver the flame to overseas communities. Because anyone entering Israel must go into quarantine, foreign dignitaries coming to pick up the flame will receive it on their plane &, Akiva Tor, who heads the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s department/ world religions, said the arrangement has been discussed with local church leaders & coordinated with several foreign countries with large Orthodox populations, including Greece, Russia, Georgia & Ukraine. Tor said church officials have been understanding. “We have the same goal in mind, which is to enable the continuation of this miraculous event while being respectful of the medical emergency which is taking place,” he said.

Eggs:- There is a shortage of eggs – The Gov. announced last week that it will subsidize the import of eggs. Millions of eggs arrived at Ashdod Port (Sunday) from Spain, & other ships & planes are on their way with millions more. Furthermore, the M/Agriculture has requested that shipping companies change their routes for faster delivery & load double the number of eggs they would usually carry in their refrigerated containers.

The M/Finance also agreed to allocate a special budget to bring in eggs in an unprecedented, & more expensive, way- via cargo planes – due to the extreme need. 20 mill. eggs are expected to arrive by air from several European countries soon. Besides Spain, other countries are The Netherlands, Ukraine, & Portugal. Egg consumption in Israel shoots up 20 % for Passover, as families embark on the project of baking, frying & cooking the special Pesach foods. Israel: the afternoon:- cases 8,430. 48 deaths. 4 new deaths. 106 on hospital ventilators. 546 have recovered.

The Mishan ‘old-age home’ in Beer Sheba has 6 dead so far. Many more may be infected. Not many tests have been done.

Good news;- In 3 days before the Seder Night- the rate/ infection seems to be falling. The hotspots (8 of them) are the problem. The Gov. will probably expand the city/town isolation to Parts/ Jerusalem, Migdal HaEmek, Tiveria, Ashkelon, El Ad, Modiin Elite, Or Yehuda and Beitar Elite.

Jerusalem will -most likely be divided into 8 segments & each will be isolated from the others- by police & the IDF. Residents can only travel & shop in their segment.

A serious event; An infected man [who returned from overseas]- took the bus from Haifa to Jerusalem today. His wife -in Beitar Elite- called the police. They stopped the bus, detained him, & the other 30 passengers are now in 14 day isolation. The bus-driver was fined [5000 shkl] for carrying more than 20 passengers. This event causes a big back-up of traffic on Route #1- near the Hemed bridge. This Chariedi ‘law-breaker’ may spend 7 yrs in jail.

The Israel Post Office may have several infected workers who deal with the public.

The M/H is doing over 10,000 tests /day. In some labs -the reagents are in low supply- more are being prepared or imported.

Arab & Bedouin communities are less infected.

Over April & May- Pesach, Easter & Ramadan are all potential new cases for the infection to climb.

So far, there have been no ‘shootings’, or outrages by police or IDF. The police are – generally – polite.

A medication for the infection; the Nes Tziona bacteriological institute may have a medication soon/

the infection. They are using blood samples from elderly recovered patients as their research material.

El Al is flying equipment from China-organized by Israel Chemicals of Haifa.

World: cases 1,258,092. Deaths 68,287.

A quick summary; The viral infection.

Cases. Deaths.

Europe 566,453. 42,387.

Middle East 90,762. 3,527.

Asia 97,635. 4,228.

Aust & region 13,816. 225.

N. America 258,119. 6,189.

S. America 23,212. 1222.

Africa 5,986. 170.

Australia: cases 5,635. New cases 181. Deaths 340. New deaths 6.

China: cases 82,930. New cases 55. Deaths 3,338. New deaths 3. The graph is going down. China has moved out of her containment phase into the mitigation phase!

Greece: cases 1,673. New cases 60. Deaths 68. New deaths 9. A Second Greek migrant facility has been quarantined – after a resident tested positive for the virus. This comes 3 days after a similar facility, with 23 asylum seekers were found to be infected, & quarantined.

In this latest case, a 53-year-old Afghan man staying at Malakasa camp along with hundreds of other people was confirmed to have the virus. The patient has been taken to hospital in Athens 7 the camp, about 40 km NE /Athens, has been placed under “full sanitary lockdown” for 14 days.

The other affected facility, Ritsona, about 75 km NE/ of Athens, has been under quarantine since Thurs. when a woman in labour tested positive.

Egypt: cases 1,070. New cases 85. Deaths 71. New deaths 5. These numbers are suspect as too low.

Germany: cases 99,964. New cases 5,936. Deaths 1,342. New deaths 184.

France: cases 89,953. New cases 4,221. Deaths 7,560. New deaths 1,053.

Italy: cases 128,948. New cases 4,805. Deaths 15,887. New deaths 681. Italy has had her lowest daily death rate in the last 2 weeks.

Pakistan: cases 2,880. New cases 430. Deaths 45. New deaths 10. The numbers are suspect as too low.

Singapore: cases 1,189. New cases 75. Deaths 5. No new deaths.

South Korea: cases 102,237. New cases 81. Deaths 183. New deaths 6.

After this crisis is over; Each country will need to evaluate how they fared & which technique was best to ‘deal’ with the virus. The South Korean Gov. was forced to take immediate action to avoid losing control over their national epidemic. The Gov. had to decide – fast – did it want to contain the virus according to the Chinese model, the British model of essentially sacrificing the older generation, or did it want to adopt the Israeli model of closing the borders to anyone coming from a state where the virus had appeared? Seoul chose a uniquely Korean model: mapping the illness, maintaining transparency, convincing citizens to adhere to a set of rules & a policy of surveillance, & – quickly testing as many people as possibly. The population of 51 mil. was tested ( 395,194 tests). This high number is critical to see how South Korea has fought the pandemic.

The first coronavirus cases appeared in South Korea on 2 Feb. – among members of the Shincheonji Church in Daegu. The church has 10,000 members. The unique rituals of this church made it a viral time-bomb. Quickly, the Gov. stepped in & tested over 90% of the members. They also mapped everyone with whom those people had crossed paths & tested them as well.

The Gov. understood that time & data were going to be crucial weapons in this war so it decided to dramatically expand testing. To put this huge project into action, 40 labs were prepared almost instantly to check thousands of tests/ day. The testing kit South Korea used was developed & produced domestically, thus the country was not dependent on imported test kits.

In order to contain the virus, the government needed as many tests as it could lay hands on as fast as possible in order to identify sources & lock down the spread. At the beginning of the crisis, South Korea conducted about 3,000 tests/ day, but quickly increased this pace to almost 20,000/ day. This enormous number of tests allowed the government to map the way coronavirus was moving through the population.

To maintain the efficiency of this process, Seoul streamlined testing by creating a McDonald’s-style drive-through testing process. People drive up to a booth & are tested without leaving their cars. In less than 10 minutes they can arrive, get tested, & leave the site. Israel has also adopted this technique in 5 locations.

Seoul understood that in order to gain the vital trust and cooperation of the public to combat the virus, it was going to have to be transparent. It is accordingly updating the public on every move it makes regarding testing & surveillance. But the public, too, understands for the most part that they have a responsibility to do as they are told. Those who ignore the rules – are fined $30,000.

The government uses mobile phone tracking, CCTV, & a payment system to track & map the movements of citizens who test positive. This kind of surveillance might smack of Big Brother, but it serves the essential immediate purpose of identifying whoever might have been in contact with a virus sufferer & instructing them to self-quarantine & get tested immediately. Anyone who enters South Korea is requested to upload an app onto their phone & update it daily. In some cases, visitors are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The last layer of the war on coronavirus is the (advanced & very modern) South Korean health system. The government has decided to pay all coronavirus-related medical expenses, but if the number of infected cases rises significantly, it will have to increase restrictions on the public throughout the country.

This South Korean model will be discussed, & evaluated over the next few years – and compared to other models.

Spain: cases 130,759. New cases 7,026. 12,418 deaths. New deaths 809.

Sweden: cases 6,443. New cases 365. Deaths 3,763. New deaths 40.

UK: cases 41,907. New cases 3,375. Deaths 4,934. New deaths 708. The Queen will address the nation -soon -on TV- with a message of a positive future and be disciplined.

USA: cases 328,662. New cases 32,105. 9,365 deaths. New deaths 1,166.

These numbers come from the WHO web-site. They are conservative , and only confirmed numbers. In some cases I have used the direct numbers from individual countries to adjust the WHO numbers. In all cases the adjustment has been upwards.


6 April ‘20: Mon. 12 Nissan. Israel: cases 8,611. New cases 181. deaths 51.

New deaths 5. 141 are very sick. 107 on ventilators.

On 8th April the whole country will go into a full close-down & isolation for Erev Pesach. Temp; Jm 20c. TLV 22c.

Israeli psychiatrists warn that Mental Health is an issue, and they demand that the evening News & radio tone down the ‘bad-news’ and be more positive with their reports. ‘People don’t need bad news!’. “Be more with explanations, and less with ‘fear-selling’.

Jerusalem will be divided into segments for health closures. Mea Shearim, Har Nof, Ramot, Givat Mordechi, Kiryat Moshe are some of them.

These cities/towns have the highest increase in case -lately:- Modiin Elite, (the highest), then Bnei Brak, Tiveria, Jerusalem, and Haifa.

Israel; the evening: Cases 8,611. 56 deaths. 6 new deaths. 106 on ventilators.

585 have recovered.

Overall- Israel is in a good situation-with the infection and the deaths. The infectivity graph is falling. The big problem is how the effect/ Pesach will have on the infectivity rate.

Actual sick cases – Bnei Brak 1,323. Mea Shearim 1,424. Ashkelon 387. Modiin Elite 145. Tiveria 96.

From tomorrow at 16.00 till Friday at 07.00 a full ‘closure’ in all of Israel. {In hebrew a SEGER}. From yesterday, the traffic-police have stopped every car & bus from entering Jerusalem, and unless YOU live in Jerusalem – you [and your family] are told to return home. Today, police have stopped 332 persons from joining their relatives -in Jerusalem – for the Seder night. There were long queues of cars & buses at the Hemed bridge {Road #1} and the police barrier.

A case:- A 22 yr old Haredi man-from Netyana – sneaked into Mea Shearim- and hid there. Neighbours called the police, he was found and fined- and expelled.

Ramat Gan; the mayor ordered his workers to put up wire fences at the 60 entrances to his city-that closely borders Bnei Brak. This will prevent ‘sick’ Bnei Brakians for entering Ramat Gan. After 3 hours the Gov. told him to cut down these fences. {They are illegal}.

Walking the dog is allowed – so many families have adopted a dog.

The main hot-spot -at this time – is Bnei Brak with 1,323 fully sick with the infection.

The self-employed are demonstrating that their ‘economic situation’ is not being taken care of. So far; about 105,000 self-employed have received 4,000 shekels as a ‘support-payment’. It is not enough.

Australia: cases 5,744. New cases 109. Deaths 36. New deaths 2. [Deaths /million = 1.423.]

Brazil: cases 11,000. New cases 1,222. Deaths 486. New deaths 73. [D/m = 2.075] The Coronavirus ‘could wipe out Brazil’s indigenous people’ MessengerIndigenous communities in the Amazon region & elsewhere/ Brazil are in danger of being “wiped out” by the coronavirus, according to health experts. Respiratory illnesses – such as those that develop from the influenza virus – are already the main cause of death for native communities.

The Infections were initially concentrated in the industrialized state/ São Paulo. However, they have now spread across the country, including to indigenous territories/ Amazon basin that are the size of France & Spain combined. The first case among indigenous peoples was recorded in Amazonas state. Indigenous groups make up 5% of the Brazilian population. Epidemiologists say that there is a high risk of the virus spreading across the native communities & wiping them out. The fear is that this virus will have a similar impact to previous major outbreaks of highly contagious diseases such as measles.

In the 1960s, a measles outbreak among members of the Yanomami community living near the border with Venezuela killed 11% of those infected. “Everyone gets sick, & then you lose all the old people, their wisdom & social organization, -it becomes chaos.”

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, some tribes are planning to split into smaller groups & seek refuge inside the forest. That is how they avoided extinction during past epidemics. “They will gather materials needed for hunting & fishing and will set up camps, waiting there until the dust settles,” Many communities lack the means to reduce the risk of contagion, such as washing hands with soap & water, or using a hand sanitizer.

People also often live in close quarters with each other & share bowls & glasses, both of which help infectious diseases spread more quickly. They are now being advised to stop sharing utensils & to use traditional seclusion practices – such as those applied to women after they give birth – to isolate people with the symptoms.

Indigenous communities also live in areas where there is limited access to healthcare, particularly intensive care beds. But as the virus spreads across Brazil, many are questioning whether the Gov. will seek to protect indigenous groups, which make up only 5% of the population. President Jair Bolsonaro is seen by many indigenous leaders as an enemy of their cause. He has said Brazil’s indigenous lands are too big & that their natural resources should be shared with the rest of the population. The issue is still hot, and uncontrolled.

Egypt: cases 1,173. new cases 103. Deaths 78. New deaths 7. [D/m= 0.75]

**Commentary:- The failures of the Egyptian & Pakistani responses to the pandemic demonstrates that neither ultra-conservative nor autocratic policies know how to blunt the impact of the disease.

Egypt & Pakistan – though very different in terms of their responses to this virus, are not the only countries in the world to botch their handling of the onset of the crisis. In fact many governments -with the exceptions of Singapore, Taiwan, & South Korea – failed to take the early steps they could have.

The reality is that Egypt & Pakistan -in spite of facts – have gone out of their way to maintain their political structure. 29th Mar.- Egypt, taking a leaf out of China’s playbook, reprimanded foreign correspondents for reporting that the number of cases in the country was exponentially higher than the 495 confirmed by the Gov.

Foreign correspondents came to conclusions based on studies by epidemiologists at the University/ Toronto who had analyzed flight & traveler data as well as infection rates. These scientists showed that “Egypt likely has a large burden of Covid-2019 cases that are unreported.” They put the number of Egyptian cases at over 19,130. In response, the Gov. withdrew the press permit of The Guardian’s correspondent. The The New York Times’s correspondant Declan Walsh was forced to delete a tweet. Several Egyptians were also detained/ charges of spreading false rumors. Egypt did impose strict measures, including the closure of all schools/universities & the suspension of flights, on March 15, the day the scientists published their findings. The government also announced a $6.38 billion fund to fight the virus.

Independent reporting is a crucial node in an effective early warning system. It creates pressure for a timely response. The effort to suppress it was in line with the Egyptian leadership approach to their governmental philosophy. Rather than focusing on early preventive measures at home, president Sisi sought to benefit from China’s predicament.

With only 1 officially confirmed case of a Chinese national arriving in Feb. at Cairo Airport, an individual who was hospitalized & who recovered, Sisi sent his health minister, Hala Zayed, to China to praise it for preventing a far worse global outbreak by taking very strong precautionary measures. This was done despite Beijing’s costly failure to confront the disease firmly from the start.

Pakistan’s approach in recent months was no less negligent than that of Egypt. Like Egypt, a country in which the power of the military is thinly camouflaged by Gov. institutions, Pakistan waffled until last week in its response to the pandemic. In a bid to earn points in Beijing, the Pakistani government refused early on to evacuate some 800 students from Wuhan. It also failed to manage the return of potentially infected pilgrims from Iran. And finally, it catered to ultra-conservative groups.

As a result, Pakistan, a deeply religious country that borders on both China & Iran, allowed Tablighi Jamaat, a proselytizing group with a huge global following in some 80 countries to continue organizing mass events. The group organized a 16,000-person mass gathering in Malaysia where scores were infected with the virus. Hundreds of Tablighi gathered from March 21 to 23 in the Mardan District/ Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to pray, listen to speeches, and eat & sleep in congested quarters. One participant, professing his belief that God would protect the Tablighi, described spending almost 6 weeks together with thousands/ others at Tablighi headquarters near Lahore, a city of 11 million, just before traveling to Mardan.

Pakistan Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri caved in to demands by the clergy to keep mosques open but capped the maximum number of people at prayers at 5. The minister’s concession reinforced a popular perception that the Pakistani gov. viewed the virus crisis as less serious than what was being projected/ health authorities across the globe.

“If the pandemic was serious, the government would’ve shut down all the mosques,” said Sadiq Bhutt, speaking through an interpreter, as he entered a mosque in Islamabad for Friday prayers. Eventually, the Pakistan military overrode Gov. policy intervened to impose a lockdown similar to the rest/ world.

But as in Egypt it may be too late for Pakistan, which is both the world’s most populous Muslim nation (207 mil.) & ill-equipped for any epidemic.

Ultimately, the lesson of Egypt’s, Pakistan’s, & China’s initial handling of the virus – is that neither self-serving autocrats nor authoritarians have the ‘need’ to confront a crisis like a pandemic in a timely fashion. Their much-delayed responses failed to take the public’s interests to heart, focusing instead on the interests/ elites that prioritize geopolitical or political advantage. In Western democracies the leaders see how the public has the ability to hold leaders to account & implement lessons learned from the costly mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. They act differently.

This raises the serious issue that if Egypt & Pakistan continue to hide their response/ virus- the greater ME will not be able to -keep open borders-later on. The ME may become islands of safe or diseased countries.

Gaza: Many Gazan who came into Gaza from Egypt {the Rafiah gate} have -today finished their ordered 3 weeks /isolation – and have left their ‘isolation centers’ and are now free to travel inside Gaza. {They all left by shaking hands with the gate warden ??}.

The Gazan M/Health is urgently asking for more reagent for their tests.

Italy: cases 128,948. New cases 4,316. Deaths 15,889. New deaths 527. [D/m=265.22]

Japan: cases 3,654. New cases 383. Deaths 73. New deaths 3. Japan declares a state of emergency -as cases in Tokyo rise.

Lebanon: cases 527. No new cases. Deaths 1. No new deaths.

The PA: (About 3.2 mil residents) Cases 246. New cases 29. Deaths 1. No new deaths. She has a low infection rate and very few deaths. Only 5% of the locals are elderly. This young population is less susceptible to the virus. There are many police on the roads, and each city/town is isolated. The PA is doing 1,200 tests /day. The big worry is the thousands of Arab Palestinians -who work in Israel- will return to the PA areas – over the next few days. This may spike the infection.

Pakistan: cases 3,277. New cases 397. Deaths 50. New deaths 5. [D/m=0.214] (These numbers are suspect.)

Singapore: cases 1,309. New cases 120. Deaths 6. New deaths 1. [D/m= 0.97]

Spain: cases 130,759. New cases 6,023. Deaths. 12,418. New deaths 674. [D/m= 277.40] A little mountain town – Zehara, has closed herself off from the world-except for one road- and all vehicles entering are fully – disinfected. There are no cases of the virus in this town.

Sweden: cases 6,830. New cases 387. Deaths 401. New deaths 28. [D/m= 41.18] Sweden has an open model of control – that may or may-not be effective.

UK: cases 47,810. New cases 5,903. Deaths 4,934. New deaths 621. [D/m= 75.07] PM -Boris Johnson has been hospitalized with the viral infection- and is now in intensive care. The Foreign minister has taken over the PMs job.

USA: cases 307,318. New cases 33,510. Deaths over 10,000. New deaths 1,338. [D/m=33.07]

A personal note: THis evening I went out shopping -after 5 days at home- with a mask & latex gloves – and I noticed about 10% of the usual people on the streets & shops and about ⅔ were wearing masks. At the mini-market people were standing some 2 m from each other… most wore masks. This is the new reality.


**A definition:- what is an epidemic? a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

7 April ’20: Tues. 1 3 Nissan. Israel: cases 8,904. Deaths 58. 670 have recovered. Israel is set for a nationwide lockdown from today. The lockdown will start at 4 p.m. & remain in force until 7am on Friday. In addition, a curfew will be in place from Pesach eve, until Thursday morning. The lockdown will prevent Israelis from leaving the municipal boundaries of their own cities, though they would be allowed to shop for essential supplies within. Cities that are hotspots of infection; are Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Tiberias, Elad, Migdal Haemek, Beitar Illit, Ashkelon, Or Yehuda, Modiin Illit, & parts/ Beit Shemesh.

In Jerusalem neighborhoods – these segments will be sealed off from each other: Har Nof, Bayit Vegan, Givat Mordechai, Ramat Shlomo, Sanhedria, Shmuel Hanavi, Beit Yisrael, Mea Shearim, Geula, Bucharim, Zichron Moshe, Ramot, Makor Baruch, Givat Shaul, & Kiryat Moshe. Thus Israelis are banned from venturing more than 100 m from their homes, with exceptions made for work & purchasing essential supplies.

A former Chief-Rabbi [79yrs] is hospitalized with serious Viral pneumonia.

Israel: the evening; cases 9,006. New cases 102. Deaths 61. New deaths 4 -over 24 hrs. [a 37 yr old man died today from complications/ the viral pneumonia. He had chronic medical issues.] 153 are in a serious condition. From 7PM -today till 6 AM on Friday – all cities & towns are closed off/ police barriers. Police are stopping all traffic into every city & turning back non-residents. There are 45 main-road barriers across the country. Most roads/ empty. Today the police have fined 520 drivers for breaking the isolation rules. Finally- after about a month the coordination between the M/H, police, IDF, Home-front, MDA and thousands/ volunteers is very effective. International statistics show that Israel has the highest rate of test/per population-in the world. Israel is doing over 10,000 tests /day. The infectivity graph is falling but it is not a clean downward fall.

The Knesset Corona sub-committee is criticizing the Gov. for not creating a round-table central specialist committee to offer professional advice to the PM -about how to proceed with the anti-epidemic steps. The current structure is too narrow and probably not that good.

From tomorrow/ 3PM till Thur./ 7AM-all cities, neighborhoods & parts of neighbourhoods are in official isolation.

Meanwhile, any person who is sick, or has symptoms can call MDA and they will take him/her to a isolation hotel or place -to stay for free – outside his family apartment. This is ‘family-isolation’.

Eggs; There is a shortage of eggs. Today 1.2 mill. eggs landed from Greece & Romania -by cargo plane. Over the next few days 32 mill. eggs will arrive from European countries. Eggs from the PA are not accepted-thay may have Salmonella. In Ramat Beit Shemesh a truckload of eggs arrived & the crowds [of Hareidim] broke the separation rules Police arrived and fined the driver 5000 shkl.

Rabbis have rules that any Chametz found in the house -after 11.20 AM tomorrow -that is traditionally burnt; will -this year- be en-closed into a plastic bag and thrown into a [ green] city bin.

The IDF is releasing some soldiers -after 30 days of ‘base-closure’ for home leave- but they are warned not to infect others or allow others to infect them. It is a calculated risk.

The traditional communal Seders- around the world.

The TLV Dan-Panorama hotel will hold a Seder for some 500 recovering coronavirus patients. How rare -this year only 1 place will hold a large communal Seder. Ironically, all the participants have corona.

This Dan Panorama hotel was the first of several hotels/ Israel converted into a quarantine space for those with light symptoms of the infection. Inside, -tomorrow night, some 500 people recovering from the virus- will hold the festive service & meal. 2 seders will take place. One will be for the majority/ guests. The 2nd, in a side hall, will be held for the ultra-Orthodox guests. Ironically, the Seder will only be for those diagnosed with corona. The area of the hotel they’re in, designated orange, is off-limits to those without corona.

Each participant will be given a plate/ food, a Haggadah to follow the service, and a Kippa. 1 person will lead the reading/ Haggadah, which sets out the order of the meal & tells the story/ Exodus in keeping with the religious commandment ‘to teach your children.’

Another unique event -in this hotel is that the Synagogue has been filled with minyanim for the prayers -every day. In the rest/ Israel, such quorums/ over 10 are banned due to the health risk.

The M/Education is planning to get Special Ed -up & running – first- after the Pesach Chag – in a partial framework. Later on, schools will slowly return to normal -in small bites.

World: cases 1,363,365. Deaths 76,420.

Australia: cases 5,844. New cases 100. Deaths 42.

New deaths 6.

Brazil: cases11,130. New cases 852. Deaths 486. New deaths 54.

China: cases 83,071. New cases 66. Deaths 3,340. No new deaths today.

Gaza: 13 new cases.

Egypt: cases 1,322. New cases 149. Deaths 85.

New deaths 7. Egypt will ban Ramadan gatherings to stop the spread of the epidemic. Typically mass gatherings & meals are held for poor people, Egypt will ban any gatherings & public iftars, or fast-breaking meals, & also collective social activities.

Egypt will ban all public religious gatherings during the holy month Ramadan starting in around 2 weeks to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Muslims usually break the fast at sunset together with their families, go to the mosque to pray & spend maximum time with relatives.

The ministry/ Islamic endowments, has issued a statement that health experts are recommending social distancing during this pandemic. Egypt will ban all gatherings & public iftars, as well as social activities, Typically mass iftars are held for poor people. The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month/ mosques to pray & meditate, the ministry said. Ramadan will start on April 25 depending on the sighting/ moon. Last month, Egypt ordered mosques & churches to shut their doors.

Iran: 60,500. New cases 2,274. Deaths 3,739. New deaths 136.

Italy: cases 132,547. New cases 3,599. Deaths 16,525. New deaths 636.

The PA: cases 254. new cases 8. No new deaths.

Pakistan: cases 3,864. New cases 587. Deaths 54. New deaths 4.

Singapore: cases 1,375. New cases 66. Deaths 6. New deaths=0.

South Korea: 10,331. New cases 47. Deaths 192. New deaths 6.

Spain: cases 135,032. New cases 4,273. Deaths 13,055. New deaths 637.

Sweden: cases 7,206. New cases 376. Deaths 477. New deaths 76.

UK: cases 51,612. New cases 3,802. Deaths 5,373. New deaths 439. PM Boris Johnson is hospitalized -in a south London hospital. He is not on a respirator.

The FM is now the acting PM.

Gateshead; Early on Tues. the head of Gateshead’s Jewish community, Rabbi Yaakov Kaufman, passed away/ coronavirus. He was 71 yrs.

The Rabbi caught the virus/ Purim, & appeared to make a full recovery. However, last Fri. his condition worsened suddenly & he was rushed/ London hospital for treatment. He passed away. Rabbi Kaufman was known in the English haredi community as an exemplary community leader. His father, who was the head of the local community before him, passed away 8 weeks ago, a week after his mother.

Rabbi Kaufman was also responsible for the town’s hevra kadisha (burial society) & in many cases where the deceased Jew was brought to Israel for burial, he would accompany the casket in order to safeguard the dignity of the dead.

Just 3 months ago, the Gateshead community lost another of its prominent members; Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk passed away. Rabbi Falk was considered by many to be one of the greatest authorities in Jewish law/ Europe, and his clear and definitive rulings written in English as well as Hebrew, particularly on the laws/ Shabbat, made observance of the laws easy to follow even for those who had no background knowledge. Rabbi Kaufman will be buried in Israel; his casket will be brought on a special flight today.

USA: cases 386,587. New cases 26,493. Deaths over 12,308. New deaths 1201.

NYC; 731 died today. NY has the worst record. The City may dig temp. cemeteries in public parks.


Definition- what is a pandemic? An infectious disease that is spreading across a whole country or the world.

8 April ‘20: Wed. 24 Nissan- the day before Passover. Israel: cases 9,404. Deaths 71. New deaths 6. 149 are very sick. 122 on ventilators. These figures are low & show a degree of improvement. 770 have recovered.

Jackals:- that usually hide from people in the Yarkon Park (North TLV) -[they live & hide in the bushland East of the park] are now hunting/ food in this big public park- since it is mainly empty of people.

El Al has flown 30,000 units of regents from South Korea for use in the Labs.

The last 8 Israelis from Laos are been flown out by a German airline to Israel.

110 Israeli-Arab students have been flown home from Turkey.

Selling the Chametz:- The Chief Rabbi signed over hundreds of millions worth of goods to a non-Jew for 20,000 shekels in the annual traditional ceremony; sale – to be reversed after the Passover festival.

Israel’s chief rabbis have sold the country’s chametz – products prohibited by religious law on Passover – to an Arab businessman.

Every year on the eve/ Passover the Israeli chief rabbi sells the chametz of the State/ to Hussein Jabbar, a resident of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem. Jaber handed over a note worth 20,000 shekels & will be the owner of the goods, technically valued at hundreds of millions of shekels. At the end of the holiday the rabbis will “buy” the goods back from Jabbar.

A biblical edict for Passover forbids Jews from owning chametz – any food products containing wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has in any way fermented or been allowed to rise after coming into contact with water. Passover products like matzah are made from specially milled flour that is guarded so that it remains totally dry.

The traditional workaround developed centuries ago is to “sell” the chametz to a non-Jew who “owns” the goods for the duration of Passover. The sale is nullified afterwards. However, during Passover Jabbar owns the chametz the rabbis sold him & Jews are forbidden from touching it.

Individual Israelis can either sell their own chametz to a non-Jew or sell it to a rabbi who collectively sells chametz, as in the case of the chief rabbis. This year’s ceremony was subdued due to the coronavirus crisis & conducted under health guidelines with the participants keeping their distance. Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen handled the paperwork for the Gov. as the practice of selling chametz is an official act detailed in the State Property Law.

Weather; Jm 16c to 9 overnight. TLV 19 to 12c. Rain expected.

Police & security; M/ Public Security – Gilad Erdan said/ Wed. that drones & helicopters will be used by police to enforce the Seder lockdown. He added that data collected from mobile phones had already been used to prevent mass gatherings.

The PM & Finance minister have decided to add 1 bill. shekels as extra help for about 600,000 ‘self-employed’ -they have serious expenses to cover.

A new drug; -an anti-influenza drug – Favipiravir.- made/Japan is been tested on 80 patients/ Hadassah, Sourasky, Poriah/ in Tiberias & Soroka/ Beersheba, together with researchers from the Hebrew Uni. Israel is among the first countries to receive this experimental drug to treat coronavirus. Previous tests/ China found this Favipiravir – is helpful in treating COVID-19/ early stages, shortening the time the patient is sick & preventing more severe effects. Israel recently received the first shipment/ the drug. Japan plans to stockpile 2 mill. doses/ of this drug.

This morning I went out – after a few days of isolation -in our home- shopping. There are only a few cars on the streets, & the supermarket & the local shops are mostly empty. Nearly everybody wears masks & most keep a 2 m distance from each other. I had a face mask & latex gloves..

Israel- the afternoon; after 4 PM… cases 9,404. On ventilator 122. Deaths 72. 801 have recovered. The IDF distributed over 500,000 boxes/ food today to the elderly & the needy. There are 13 pseudo-‘hotels’ for infected persons including 4 for the Haredi population. There are 1,100 infected persons in them & 600 other ‘isolated’ persons.

World: over 1,500,912 infected. Over 88,257 deaths.

Australia: cases 5,956.New cases 112. Deaths 45. New deaths 3. As the country enters its fourth week of physical-distancing measures – resulting in a gradual flattening of the curve – health experts begin contemplating the “next phase” of Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Egypt: cases 1,450. New cases 128. Deaths 94. New deaths 9. These numbers are suspect.

France: cases 109,069. New cases 3,738. Deaths 10,328. New deaths 1,417.

Iran: cases 62,589. New cases 2,089. Deaths 3,872. New deaths 133. These numbers may be very low.

Italy: cases 135,586. New cases 3039. Deaths 17,129. New deaths. 604. More than 100 healthcare staff in Italy have lost their lives to COVID-19 since Feb.

Pakistan: cases 4,072. . New cases 208. Deaths 58. New deaths 4.

Singapore: cases 1,481. New cases 102. Deaths 6. No new deaths.

Spain: cases 140,510. New cases 5,478. Deaths 13,798. New deaths 743. The Death rate is rising.

Sweden: cases 7,693. New cases 487. Deaths 591. New deaths 114.

Turkey:- cases 34,109. New cases 3,892. Deaths 725. New deaths 76. As commercial hand sanitisers run dry in the US & Europe, people/ Turkey are turning to a traditional, aromatic fragrance that has taken on a whole new relevance amid the pandemic: kolonya.

Meaning “cologne”, kolonya has been a treasured symbol of Turkish hospitality & health since the Ottoman Empire, and it’s often described as Turkey’s national scent. Traditionally, this sweet-scented aroma made with fig blossoms, jasmine, rose or citrus ingredients is sprinkled on guests’ hands as they enter homes, hotels & hospitals; when they finish meals at restaurants; or as they gather for religious services. But unlike other natural scents, this ethanol-based concoction’s high alcohol content can kill more than 80% of germs & act as an effective disinfectant.

Uganda: cases 52. New cases 0. Deaths 0. New deaths 0. These numbers are suspect. In Uganda and many other African countries -people die and the doctors or staff do not record the reason for death – this creates a statistical problem.

UK: cases 55,246. New cases 3,634. Deaths 61,591. New deaths 828.

USA: cases 400,549. New cases 29,510. Deaths 12,857. New deaths 1,736.

NY; 130,689 cases. Deaths 4,758.

The White House is preparing 15,000 extra beds.

Pentagon: The acting secretary/ US Navy has resigned amid uproar over his handling of a coronavirus outbreak on an aircraft carrier. Thomas Modly fired the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s captain after he pleaded for help in a letter leaked to the media. Mr Modly apologised/ Mon. after it emerged he had called Captain Brett Crozier’s actions “naive” and “stupid”. The secretary’s exit comes a day after Pres. Trump signalled he might get involved in the dispute. Defence secretary Mark Esper said Mr Modly had “resigned of his own accord”.

The Pentagon chief said the crew’s health & safety were a priority for the department. Capt Crozier was fired last week, & footage of his crew sending him off the warship with applause went viral. Mr Modly flew 8,000 miles on Mon. to the Pacific island/ Guam, where the aircraft carrier is docked, & berated the crew for having cheered the captain as he left the ship. Mr Modly told the crew what their former captain did “was very, very wrong” and amounted to “a betrayal of trust with me, with his chain of command”. Amid rebukes from members of Congress, Mr Modly issued an apology saying: “I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid. I think & always believed him to be the opposite.”

Capt Crozier sent a letter to defence officials on 30 Mar. begging/ assistance with a coronavirus outbreak on his ship, which has more than 4,000 crew. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” he wrote, requesting quarantine of nearly the entire crew.

Personal: My wife & I had our 2 person Seder -alone- but with reading, singing, eating & even, We went-out at 8.30 PM- to say -aloud – the ‘4 questions’ – on/ street with others- nearby. It was good, fun & unusual. We finished at 11.20 PM. [We usually have over 30 – at our Seder every year- this year only 2.]


A definition: A virus – an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat; is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.

“a virus infection” or a viral infection, or a viral disease.

9 April ‘20: Thur. The first day of Passover. 15 Nissan 5780. Israel is in full quarantine. Israel: All cities, towns and many suburbs are cut off from each other by barriers. Israel: cases 9,755. New cases 351. Deaths 79. New deaths 7. The Graph of the infected is still climbing by about 10% . This is too high. Streets are mostly empty. Most Israeli families are in lock-down & celebrating the Passover/ small family groups. Many elderly couples are doing their seder with only themselves =2. The police handed out 2,503 fines for breaking the rules.

The M/Finance has updated her package for the self-employed to widen it & also include help for the businesses and not only the individuals.

Three hotels may have Legionnaires disease- the M/H is checking. The M/H wants to extend the full closure over the rest/ Passover- another 7 days. Minister/Def. Bennet disagrees. Cases; Jerusalem 1,630. Bnei Brak 1,594.

Weather; pleasant, some sun and no rain.

The IDF:- The afternoon before the festival. The AIF has released thousands from its Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev so they could celebrate at home. The IDF has made special preparations for the Seder during this epidemic. This year bases will be packed, unlike most years, where soldiers return home to celebrate/ family. Those who are given leave will report to daily ‘virtual roll-calls’ to ensure they’re following health guidelines. For most IDF soldiers this is the first time they are given leave since the health crisis hit Israel 7 weeks ago. All the soldiers will report to a daily roll-call using Zoom. Soldiers who do not report will be disciplined. Officers fear that soldiers will return to base infected & put whole units out/ commission. The fear is even greater at the Hatzerim Air Base, where pilots fly sorties to keep their skills sharp & fill flying tasks. At this AIF base: there are many soldiers here that haven’t been home for a month, & the base commander decided that/ Seder night they’ll celebrate with their nuclear families. “They need to get some air, because after the holiday they will serve for another month with no leave.”

On the other hand; tens/f thousands/ soldiers won’t be going on leave for the holiday & will celebrate the holiday/ base or at various posts around/ country. Contrary to past Passover’s , this means training bases will be full, a challenge to the IDF for the logistics & kosher preparations.

The IDF has more than 1,000 tables, 800 benches and tents/ celebrating the holiday meal. The IDF purchased 2810 kilograms of matzah, 2000 kilograms of beef, chicken & turkey, a million kosher/ Passover sandwiches, 36,000 liters of grape juice and 25,000 bottles of soda.

For soldiers/ operations, personal Passover meals -ready-to-eat were prepared. In the Golani Brigade, the Seder will be held outdoors. “If it’ll be too cold, officiers will arrange Passover shifts, led by religious soldiers trained for the role.

*An estimate; If there are about 15 mill. Jews in the world, and about 70% do a Seder- and the usual average number at a seder is 6-8, then last year there would have been about 1.5 mill. Sederim. This year- because of the pandemic there were probably 1.8 mill. Sederim with many more small sederim.

103 days into our pandemic – from 30th Dec. 2019.

**A medical comment:- Israel is now ready to deal with hundreds of full-clinical cases with respirators- so immediately after the festival- the economy should be opened-up, completely, with all businesses, flights, tourism & hotels/restaurants & schools functioning. At the same time in certain areas, the elderly, the chronically sick & certain towns/ suburbs can be isolated & told to stay in full lock-down. This epidemic is no longer a medical problem, it is now an economic problem that must be rejuvenated quickly.

World: cases 1,436,198. New cases 82,837. Deaths 85,522. New deaths 6,287. World authorities are worried about the coming Easter & Ramadan festivals. They will spike the numbers.

Australia: cases 6,052. New cases 96. Deaths 50. New deaths 5.

Bangladesh: cases 218. New cases 54. Deaths 20. New deaths 3. The Gov.has locked-down their Rohingya camps to prevent the virus entering or leaving.

Egypt: cases 1,560. New cases 110. Deaths 103. New deaths 0.

Iran: cases over 64,586. New cases 1,997. Deaths over 3,993. New deaths 121.

Italy: cases 139,422. New cases 3,836. Deaths 17,669. New deaths 540.

Myanmar: Cases 22. New cases 1. Deaths 3. New deaths 2.

Pakistan: cases 4,322. New cases 250. Deaths 63. New deaths 5.

Saudi Arabia : cases 2,932. New cases 137. Deaths 41. No new deaths. The Gov. has declared a ceasefire in Yemen- over the virus.

Singapore: cases 1,623. New cases 42. Deaths 6. No new deaths.

Spain: cases 146,690. New cases 6,180. Deaths 145,555.New deaths 757.

Sweden: cases 8,419. New cases 726. Deaths 687. New deaths 96. (It is instructional to compare Sweden to Israel with the statistics & the model of ‘lock-down’.)

Uganda: cases 53. New cases 1.Deaths 0. New deaths 0.

UK: cases 60,737. New cases 5,491. Deaths 7,097. New deaths 938.

USA: cases 395,030. New cases 31,709. Deaths 12,740. New deaths 1,895.

Later figures..USA: cases 430,000 The US is running low on supplies.

NY; 150,000 cases. NY is a major hotspot of infection and death.


Definition: a bacteria – a member/ large group of unicellular microorganisms which have cell walls but lack organelles & an organized nucleus, including some which can cause disease. Many bacteria can be seen with a light microscope. Bacteria cause bacterial diseases.


10 April ‘20: Fri. (Chol HaMoed Pesach) Today is Good Friday. Israel: cases over 10,905. New cases deaths 93. ⅓ of all these deaths are in the elderly homes. New deaths 13. 168 on ventilators. Recovered 1,061. The M/H and the police are very pleased with the almost full cooperation from the public over/ rules & the lock-down.

The Arab town of Daburriah – about 6 Kms East of Nazareth has a lot of cases of the virus- the police have isolated the town with road-blocks.

From 6am -today the strict curfew has been lifted. It is now only partial. Public transport will resume on Sunday.

Home-births; Based on the fear/ viral infection, some Israelis predict a surge in home births to avoid the risk of infection -in hospital settings. Weather- Jm 13c TLV 18c. It is raining. Unemployment 25.33% A very high number.

The Jerusalem Etz HaZeit hotel [1.2 Kms NE of the city center ] may have Legionnaires dis. in their rooms- they are changing the shower heads.

World: cases 1,605,277. Deaths 95,751. New deaths 7,277.

Africa: the forests of Rwanda, Uganda & the Democratic Republic/ Congo. The Great apes have been put on lockdown against the threat of coronavirus. Gorilla tourism/ Africa has been suspended, while sanctuaries for other apes, such as orangutans, have closed to the public. It’s not known if great apes can contract/ virus, but there is growing fear that these animals might be equally at risk. It is known that these animals frequently develop respiratory illnesses. New measures have been put in place to protect big cats & their caregivers. New guidance from the International Union/ Conservation/ Nature calls for a minimum distance of 10 m from these great apes.

Also, on the island of Borneo – sanctuaries for great apes- have closed to the public.

Australia: cases 6,152. New cases 100. Deaths 52. New deaths 2. Virgin Australia is suspending all its domestic flights except for a single Sydney to Melbourne return service, which will run once/ day, except for Saturdays.

“We continue to operate a daily service between Melbourne and Sydney, provide cargo transport locally & overseas, & operate charter flights including assisting the Government in bringing Australians home.”

Belgium: cases 24,983. New cases 1,580. Deaths 2,523. New deaths 283.

Egypt: cases 1,699. New cases 139. Deaths 118. New deaths 15.

The EU; is planning to release a E500 bill. Package to get the stalled economy moving.

France: cases 117,749. New cases 4,256. Deaths 12,210. New deaths 1,339. Recovered 23,206.

Iran: cases 66,220. New cases 1,634. Deaths 4,110. New deaths 117.

Italy: cases 143,626. New cases 4,204. Deaths 18,281. New deaths 612. Recovered 28,470.

Portugal: cases 13,956. New cases 845. Deaths 409. New deaths 29.

Pakistan: cases 4,601. New cases 279. Deaths 66. New deaths 3.

South Korea: 10,450. New cases 27. Deaths 208. New deaths 4. Now says that recovered patients are testing positive for the virus again.

Spain: cases 153,222. New cases 5,756. Deaths 15,447. New deaths 683. Recovered 52,165.

Sweden: cases 9.141. New cases 722. Deaths 793. New deaths 106.

Thailand: is closing all her islands to all visitors.

Uganda: cases 3. No new cases, & zero deaths.

UK: cases 65,081. New cases 4,344. Deaths 7,978.

New deaths 881. PM. Boris Johnson- 55 yrs, is recovering at St. Thomas hospital, London.

USA: cases 468,895. New cases 30,859. Deaths 16,697. New deaths 1,925. Recovered 25,928.

NY: Those who died of the virus but have not been claimed by family may be buried/ Hart Island, east of the Bronx. “For decades, Hart Island has been used to bury bodies that have not been claimed by family. This Island is likely to be used to bury these bodies. “These are bodies who, for 2 weeks, have not been claimed The bodies are being buried by private contractors; working 5 days/ week.

This week a tiger at the Bronx Zoo -tested positive for the coronavirus.

***It is now a given that soon- hundreds of studies will compare, study & adjust the numbers for all the statistics. Conclusion, arguments & opinion will flood the Ministries & the public with new, old and adjusted information.

There is no doubt that many experts will conclude that country X, Y or Z could have done her ‘national treatment’ differently.

One brilliant field/ study will be Israel- as a closed laboratory of this epidemic- and how it spread, was treated and then how Israel ‘left’ the epidemic behind

Similarly: Sweden & Israel are 2 major sites to compare their statistics & their responses.

end of section #8 5 till 10th April 2020.

Compiled from multiple sources and personal observations.