VFI News March 24, 2020

Israel Experiences First Coronavirus Death

"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Ps: 34:7-8

The Health Ministry announced on Friday evening 20 March 2020 that an 88-year-old man died at the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem after being diagnosed with coronavirus. The patient, who had suffered from multiple and significant preexisting conditions, arrived at the hospital in very serious condition a week ago and was hospitalized in the isolated ward dedicated to coronavirus patients. "The patient was treated extensively, comprehensively and closely by the staff and underwent CPR during the week as a result of heart failure," the hospital said on Friday night. "In the last few hours, his condition had deteriorated and he passed away later that evening. The death is the first fatality in Israel from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The 88-year-old was the 45th confirmed case of coronavirus in Israel. He came from a nursing home in Jerusalem and was likely infected after being in the vicinity of a social worker in the nursing home who contracted the virus from a French tourist. The manager of the nursing home has gone into isolation, and other occupants and workers in the home have contracted the virus as well. On Friday afternoon, the Health Ministry confirmed the number of coronavirus cases in Israel had reached 705, ten of whom are in serious condition. Another 18 patients are in moderate condition, and 662 are in light condition. Israel is tightening its guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus - and PM Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that law enforcement will make sure the new Health Ministry rules are taken seriously. The emergency lockdown regulations will be in effect for the next seven days, Netanyahu said in a televised address Thur. night 19 March 2020, announcing the guidelines. He said not enough Israelis were adhering to the original regulations. “You are ordered to stay at home,” he said. “This isn’t a request, this isn’t a recommendation, but a binding requirement that will be enforced.” Israelis will be able to leave home for groceries, medical treatment and other essential services. They may drive to work if their place of work is still open. (Arutz-7/JTA)

Lord Yeshua, we continue to turn to you in faith, beseeching You to grace government leaders and medical experts with wisdom and knowledge to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to find a cure for it.

Israeli Expert Speaks From Frontlines on Coronavirus

Dr. Elli Rosenberg runs the coronavirus unit at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. He told media sources: "What we're trying to do is maximize patient care with minimal staff exposure. Technology helps. A coin-sized monitor taped to their chest - developed by an Israeli startup company - continuously transmits vital signs by Bluetooth to our control center. We also have tablets for the patients that measure their temperature and can serve as a stethoscope. Students and faculty from the engineering department at Ben-Gurion University are building a telemedicine robot to our specifications. "Q: What's your take on Israel's handling of the pandemic? Rosenberg: "In the beginning, I thought this was handled way too aggressively and that the measures the government decided on were extreme. As time progressed, especially with examples coming in from different countries around the world of how governments responded and what the consequences were - for better and for worse - I slowly shifted to the point right now where I hope we're not too late with the actions we're taking. If we want to beat this, social distancing and personal hygiene and increased testing have to be implemented and enforced at the highest level." (VFI News)

David Freedman Claims "All the Dislocation Is the Cost of Saving Lives"

USA Ambassador to Israel David Friedman discussed the COVID-19 pandemic in an interview: "The visibility is unprecedented. The infectious disease experts now understand how to stem the advancement of the disease, and the global quarantine certainly is new. The entire world is watching the spread in real time, and the numbers come out daily with 24/7 commentary. We are not used to this type of isolation and, with the bombardment of information, our reactions may have become obsessive. And, of course, the curtailment on mobility is destroying parts of the world economy. But in an important sense, all the dislocation we are seeing is the cost of saving lives that generations ago probably would have been lost."  As the coronavirus came suddenly out of stealth mode, many of the startups that can help defeat it are based in Israel. They are working on diagnosis, mitigation, patient tracking, contamination prevention, protecting medical staff, education, and exercise for the homebound. (VFI News)

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." Jas 1:12

Israel Pharmaceutical Helps USA in Coronavirus Battle

Teva has announced it will donate more than 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to hospitals across the USA. from March 31. The tablets are approved by the USA FDA for the treatment of malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. They are currently under investigation to determine their efficacy against the coronavirus and USA officials have asked for their immediate availability and use. Over 10 million tablets are expected to be shipped within a month (VFI News)

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us - so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations." Ps. 67:1-2

Israel's Public Transport Rules Brings Cleaner Air

The fall in economic activity, in- particular, car journeys and public transport use, has significantly improved Israel's air quality, the Ministry of Environmental Protection reports. Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection has announced that the decline in economic activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly reduced air pollution in Israel over the past week. The concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the atmosphere has fallen to 30% below average levels. The government's draconian instructions, which have sought to flatten the infection curve and reduce social contact to allow the health system to cope with the spreading epidemic, have in-particular significantly cut use of public transport and vehicle usage. Travel on public transport is down 50% in Jerusalem, 60% in the greater Tel Aviv area, and 85% in the Sharon area. (VFI News)

Depreciation of the Shekel Has Positive Points

The depreciation of the shekel against the dollar is a positive development that should help the Israeli economy overcome the coronavirus crisis, global ratings agency S&P believes. The global rating agency expects Israel to avoid a recession in 2020 and even record 2% growth, even though Israel's Ministry of Finance itself sees a best-case scenario of 0% growth in 2020. However, S&P says, "A full recession is not expected at this stage due to the robustness of the domestic economy and it will happen only in the event of an additional hit to the economy such as a geopolitical event or the collapse of real estate prices", S&P said, "Although Israel is also suffering a substantial slowdown because of the coronavirus outbreak, the local currency is actually depreciating, which is a factor that could help in the future by strengthening exports and bringing back inflation. S&P also pointed out that Israel's original economic growth forecast was significantly higher than the euro bloc but that the Covid-19 outbreak will ultimately depend on the length and severity of the virus and the degree of success of the measures taken by the government and the Bank of Israel. However, S&P's economists see a worldwide recession with global GDP growth of just 1%-1.5% in 2020. (Forbes)

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