VFI News March 31, 2020

USA Now Has the Highest Number of Coronavirus Cases

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all". Ps. 34:19

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached 100,040 on Friday 26 March 2020, the highest number in the world, according to a Reuters tally. The count has also showed that at least 1,546 have died of the illness across the United States, with the largest numbers so far in Washington state and New York. Italy is second with 86,498 cases and China is third with 81,340 confirmed cases, according to the tally. An all-time high of 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in the USA last week, up from the previous high of 695,000 jobless claims. The spread of the novel coronavirus has forced businesses around the country to shut down and lay off personnel. Commenting on the unemployment numbers last week President Donald Trump said the sharp rise in unemployment claims was “fully expected” and predicted the economy would quickly rebound once the United States overcomes the coronavirus outbreak. Over the weekend, the US House of Representatives passed a historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, which the USA president has signed. (VFI News)

Many of us in Israel are praying for you, our dear friends, in the USA, across Europe and in China - even as we know you are interceding for us here. We are standing with you in this battle against a silent invisible enemy and pray God's protection, healing and peace over you: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift-up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Num. 6: 24-26

Israeli Cities Hardest Hit by Coronavirus

Instead of Exodus, like the first Pesach in Egypt, the motto is: Don't roam, stay home. Reminiscent of World War II. Except for unfortunately some of the haredi sector, who believe themselves to be immunized by Torah study - and pay the price. Throughout March 2020, Israel has changed its lifestyle into a total lockdown. Data published over the weekend shows the distribution of cases of coronavirus in Israel by localities. The data shows that Jerusalem leads the way with 352 verified cases, followed immediately by Bnei Brak, a center of Haredi Judaism, with 267 cases. In Tel Aviv, where the number of residents is 2.5 times greater than that of Bnei Brak, there have been 211 confirmed cases. Tel Aviv is followed on the list by Ashkelon with 78 cases, Bat Yam with 51, Efrat with 44, Haifa with 44, Be’er Sheva with 43 cases, and Kiryat Yearim, a small predominantly Haredi community located in the Jerusalem area where there was a pointed outbreak and in which there were 30 cases. According to experts, the high number of cases in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem is the result of gatherings and Purim parties that took place in certain groups among the haredi sector - contrary to the guidelines of the Health Minister. However, Israel's Channel 12 noted, in the past week it appears as though the reality has changed and even these communities are now cooperating with the guidelines. (VFI News)

Please intercede that all sectors in Israeli society, including the Religious communities and many young people who often feel invincible to danger, will cooperate with the Health Ministry and government guidelines as we battle coronavirus.  "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Rom. 13:1

5 Percent of UK Coronavirus Deaths are Jews

22 UK Jews had died after contracting the coronavirus according to figures released last week by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The number of fatalities is close to 5% of the confirmed national death toll, while Jews make up only 0.5% of the UK's population. Meanwhile, one quarter of Israelis who have contracted the coronavirus in Israel have been infected through contact with another infected individual in a synagogue, figures released by an advisory group to the Health Ministry last week revealed. According to the newly released data, the most common place to contract COVID-19 in Israel is synagogues, where 24% of all infections to date have occurred, with another 5% contracted in yeshivas. (VFI News)

God Breathed Into My Lungs and Healed Me

A coronavirus survivor last week told his story to Fox media sources explaining how he was diagnosed with the virus and struggling to breathe as he declined in the hospital and his lungs rapidly filled with fluid. Everything changed, he said, after God came into his room and breathed into his lungs. Clay Bentley, a retired sheriff’s deputy from Georgia, shared the story of his miraculous recovery after a bitter battle with the Chinese coronavirus. He believes he contracted the virus after attending a gathering at the Church at Liberty Square in Cartersville, Georgia. He rapidly declined, going to urgent care the next day after struggling to breathe. He was ultimately diagnosed with pneumonia and sent him home. However, he went back to the hospital days later after his condition worsened, and they eventually confirmed that he contracted the coronavirus. “You know I was in the hospital for about 12 days. I guess it was around the fifth or sixth day, the doctors told me we tried everything,” he explained. 'You’re worse today than you were when you came in the hospital,'” he continued, noting that the doctor stressed the importance of getting the fluid out of his lungs. At that point, Bentley said he heard God tell him, “You’re getting better.” “I’m just going to tell you, I heard the voice of the Lord tell me as he was telling me that,” he says, ‘You’re getting better. You’re getting better,'” he said. “And about I guess it was about 3 o’clock in the morning I got to the point where I couldn’t even breathe, and I tell you I felt like I had a man laying on my chest and the weight of this man was so heavy that he was taking my breath,” Bentley said. "I couldn’t even breathe, and then all of a sudden I felt this - I felt air blown into my lungs and I know as a believer that God was there with me, and he began to blow air in my lungs and I took a deep breath. Well here’s the end of the story. The doctor came in the next morning and checked me and he said, ‘You hardly - yesterday you were worse than you’ve ever been and I come in here today and you don’t have hardly any fluid in your lungs at all.' And he asked me, he said, ‘I just want to ask you if you’re a praying man,’ and I said, ‘Yes sir. I pray. I pray constantly,'” he explained. “And he said, ‘Well I have found in my practice when people pray, when people pray, that positive energy causes the body to begin to heal itself.’ And I said, ‘You can believe that if you want to, but I’m telling you, God came in my room last night and healed me.'” (Brietbart)

"Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death." Ps. 68:20

Chinese, Israeli Team to Build COVID-19 Testing Facility

Israeli DNA company MyHeritage announced over the weekend that they will be working with Chinese genomics giant BGI to build an emergency testing facility which will allow Israel to perform an additional ten thousand coronavirus tests per day. The lab is expected to be completed by 9 April 2020 and after a short while, is expected to double the testing output to around 20,000 tests daily. According to MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet, "BGI will ship to Israel in the coming days an aerial train of equipment including dozens of advanced qPCR corona testing machines – the type of equipment used to detect RNA viruses, which allows the detection of even minimal amounts of the virus. The equipment also includes RNA extraction robots and large quantities of relevant equipment."

In order for the lab to keep up with the tight schedule and start operating by 9 April, 2020 MyHeritage is preparing to recruit 110 new employees.  According to Japhet, "Alongside the air train, about 25 experts from China will come to Israel to train us on how to work with the equipment." Meanwhile, researchers from over 20 labs at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are working to combat the spread of the coronavirus. These emergency projects focus on detection and diagnostics, vaccine development, therapeutic treatments, and methods for remote care and monitoring of patients, including robotic solutions. (VFI News)

Pray for the safety and protection of the selfless doctors, nurses, scientists, social workers, food delivery teams, volunteers, just plain good people risking their lives daily to help others win the victory over the coronavirus.

Special Flights Bring Home Hundreds of Israelis

Foreign governments and Israeli diplomats continued last week, to bring home hundreds of Israeli backpackers who were stranded abroad. The majority, more than 600 Israelis, were returned from India. "Some 200 Arab Israeli students from Jordan, 150 Israelis from Central Europe and another 150 from Costa Rica, were flown home safely," said Foreign Minister Israel Katz. "We managed to get tourists out from all parts of Bolivia, and even those that were unable to board last week's El Al flight from Peru will return to Israel soon." Half of the 6000 Israelis that asked the Foreign Ministry for help in recent weeks have already returned, including about 1,000 from India, 1,000 from Peru, hundreds from Australia, Brazil and Mexico and about 100 each from Nepal and Myanmar. Over 1,000 Israeli students returned from Eastern Europe. The government will not be able to help Israelis abroad as much, as more borders close and flights are canceled in the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned on Thur. 26 March 2020. "The window of opportunity to return to Israel is shrinking, as is the State of Israel's ability to help Israelis who remain abroad during the coronavirus crisis," Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned. Katz called on all Israelis to make an effort to find their way back to Israel. (VFI)

900 Jews Make Aliyah During March Despite Coronavirus

Some 900 new immigrants have arrived in Israel since the beginning of March 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis the Jewish Agency has said, with 1,000 expected in total before Passover. The new olim have come from across the globe, including Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Argentina, the USA, Canada, Brazil, France, the UK, South Africa, Australia and India.  The Jewish Agency has continued to bring new olim into the country in conjunction with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. And in coordination with the Health Ministry, the Jewish Agency has implemented a comprehensive emergency procedure for the arrival of the new immigrants to Israel to safely absorb them in Israel. Practically, this means that every immigrant arriving for direct absorption is required to sign a commitment, prior to immigrating, that they will go into immediate quarantine for 14 days at a fixed location. During this period, the Jewish Agency, the Aliyah Ministry and local authorities are maintaining contact with the immigrants remotely to provide ongoing assistance. The Jewish Agency has also set up an immigration hotline based in Jerusalem but linked to several dozen location worldwide and staffed by multilingual professionals who are providing guidance and assistance to every immigrant, even before arrival in Israel. (J. Post)

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Isa. 43:5-6

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