The sight of Israelis cheering the country’s medics from their homes on Thursday evening echoed around the world this weekend.
In a move coordinated through social media, and in a nod to house-bound Italian families singing to each other, thousands of Israelis appeared at their windows and balconies to applaud hospital staff working through the pandemic.
Similar scenes were seen in France, India and Spain, while Americans were urged to do likewise this weekend, as communities across the world showed their respect for an overwhelmed healthcare profession.
In Israel the IDF said it was stepping up its role in the current coronavirus outbreak with interventions to ensure ventilators get to hospitals and vital supply lines stay open, as 1,238 cases were confirmed by Monday morning.
One Israeli woman who tested positive for Covid-19 has garnered 23,000 followers on social media for her videos explaining her experience.
“You have to be taken away and this is the crazy part because you don’t know where, you don’t know what’s going on,” said Dani, also known as victim 74. “Mentally it’s a total shock.”
In a stunning display of solidarity today, thousands around Israel stood and loudly applauded the healthcare & medical professionals working tirelessly against #COVID19 to save lives.
Wherever you are in the world, take a moment to applaud those keeping you safe and healthy. pic.twitter.com/RRSV88dKvs
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 19, 2020
Israeli authorities have reported one death, an 88-year old Holocaust survivor, and said 24 people remained in a critical condition, including a new-born baby.
Religious authorities at the Western Wall instructed people to refrain from mass prayers or kissing the stones as police said they had made more than 100 arrests in cases involving quarantine breaches. By Sunday, there were 19 investigations into those suspected of posting false information online.
Israeli ministers are due to announce a package of financial help for workers as the economy nose-dives. The Israeli Employment Service said 100,000 registered for unemployment benefit in the last day, bringing the total to 551,000. The unemployment rate is up to 16.5 percent from just four percent before the outbreak.