APN COVID Report #5: Israel and Palestine: A snapshot in numbers

9,808 on 15 April

This was the number of active cases in Israel when the COVID-19 epidemic was at its peak in mid-April. Although each of these cases represents a person and a family struggling with this terrible disease, this number is encouragingly lower than many comparable states. Israel was quick to implement measures such as travel bans and quarantines. This appears to have made a big difference. The key now for Israeli health authorities, as lockdown measures are gradually relaxed in Israel and elsewhere, is trying to make sure the number of cases does not reach this level again.  

240,000

This is the number of coronavirus tests that have been conducted in Israel to date. Israel has continued to be one of the best countries in the world for testing per capita. States doing better than Israel include very wealthy countries such as the UAE or very small ones such as Luxembourg. Israel is doing better than the US and all major states in Europe. Scientists say that widespread testing will be key to reopening after lockdown. Israel therefore seems well positioned to transition to reopening, assuming it continues to expand testing at the current rate. 

40 days

As of April 28, this is how long Israel has been on a stay at home order. On the 19th of March, earlier than most nations, the government issued a legally binding stay at home order as part a national emergency. At times, the lockdown has been stricter, but the upcoming opening of small stores is the most freedom of movement Israelis will have had since the Coronavirus confined them to their homes more than a month ago.

300

This is the combined total number of ventilators in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In both territories, as in Israel, the authorities’ response has also been quite proactive and effective. Thus far, therefore, the Palestinian health services have not been totally overrun. However, this tiny number of ventilators, with only 87 for the nearly 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip, shows how vulnerable Palestinians are to this respiratory disease. This ventilators deficit makes it even more imperative that the exit from lockdown is managed with care, as an outbreak in the West Bank or Gaza could be devastating.     

2500 Liters

This is how much hand sanitizing gel has been transported into Gaza by the World Health Organization in the past week. Where water access is sporadic, hand sanitizer is a vital resource in stopping the spread of COVID-19, a testament to the importance of the WHO for the health of Palestinians. As businesses begin to open back up, this may be one of the only resources they have to combat the virus. We must continue to pressure the Israeli government to provide health resources to Gazans in need.

Prepared by Thomas Sweeney, APN Intern


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