(JTA) — Israel reported a record number of nearly 9,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in a 24-hour period.
The 8,919 confirmed infections reported Thursday morning from the previous day represent a 13.6% positivity rate. As of Thursday morning, Israel has had a total of 1,571 deaths from the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet voted late Wednesday to extend the current full lockdown meant to prevent the spread of the deadly virus by three days, though it could be longer. The Cabinet also approved fining those caught in a sukkah that is not their own.
Also Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Health Ministry to prepare hospitals to handle up to 5,000 seriously ill coronavirus patients at one time. The maximum now is 800 — a number that has already been exceeded.
The country’s embattled coronavirus czar, Dr. Ronni Gamzu, said at a news conference Thursday that some 40% of verified coronavirus cases in Israel are from the haredi Orthodox community, though they make up about 8% of the population. He said the large number of cases discovered on Wednesday was fallout from the small number of tests performed this week on Yom Kippur.
Meanwhile, Israeli news outlets such as Channel 12 reported that sukkahs with the capacity to hold hundreds of people were seen being constructed in Jerusalem, sparking fears of a continued spike in virus cases in the community.