“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations””
Psalm 33:11 NIV
I’m thankful that despite all that is going on around us and even with news and events changing daily, we can put our trust in God – who does not change. We can take confidence in His words to us. As it says in Psalm 33, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever.”
In Israel, coronavirus cases are on the rise again. With that reality, I’m sharing a variety of news stories – including hospitals filling up, Israel working on new fast-track virus testing to open up their airport, and an agreement with a U.S. biotech company to secure vaccines as soon as they are available.
Meanwhile, the government promised no closures in the coming days for gyms and tourist attractions, and summer camps and summer school will continue through the last scheduled day of August 6.
And if the pandemic wasn’t enough to contend with, on Monday, Israel Defense Forces had to thwart a Hezbollah terror attack near the border with Lebanon.
As always, there is much to be in prayer for concerning Israel and her people.
Coronavirus wards full at four of Israel’s largest hospitals
According to Israel’s Health Ministry, the coronavirus wards at four of the country’s largest hospitals are full, and a fifth is nearing capacity. Serious coronavirus cases are continuing to rise, putting a strain on the healthcare system.
The ministry said Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem was operating at 120% capacity, with its virus treatment department at 152% capacity. Also in Jerusalem, Shaare Zedek Medical Center wards were at 104% capacity and the virus department at 106%, the ministry said.
In Tel Aviv, the Ichilov Medical Center was at 104% capacity, with 110% for its virus department, and the country’s largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center, was at 99.56% capacity, with 90% of its virus department filled, according to The Times of Israel.
Israel planning to open fast-track coronavirus testing at Ben-Gurion Airport
Representatives of the Airports Authority, the National Security Council, and the Health and Transportation ministries met late last week to begin work on seeking a private company to hire to establish fast-track coronavirus testing labs at Ben-Gurion Airport, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The president of one of the companies interested in bidding to establish the labs explained how the process would work:
Israeli travelers would be screened at a drive-thru testing station 72 hours before their flight and receive the results on their mobile phone. If the test result is negative, the traveler would go to the airport and be given a second test. The results would be received upon arrival at their destination. Then they would be able to present two negative tests.
Foreigners desiring to enter Israel would be immediately screened when they arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport. Then they would enter isolation for approximately 24 hours to wait for their results. If the results are negative, they can continue their stay. If the test is positive, the visitor would remain in quarantine for 10-14 days.
Other countries that have opened their skies have similar systems in their airports. The goal is to begin the process to find the company to establish the testing labs in the next one to three weeks.
Human trials for potential COVID-19 vaccine could be held in Israel
After Jerusalem signed an agreement for purchase of a drug being developed as a COVID-19 vaccine, the CEO of the U.S. firm developing the drug says Israel could be used as a location for human trials.
“My understanding is that Israel is under some significant challenges with respect to the prevalence of COVID, and it would present an opportunity to perhaps do the registration study in Israel, combining that data with other countries as well,” Arcturus Therapeutics CEO Joseph Payne told Israel’s Channel 12 news, referring to the Phase 3 human trials.
“It’s key that you have the study in a place where there’s a substantial amount of COVID present so that you can more quickly prove your vaccine works,” Payne said.
Arcturus Therapeutics and Duke-NUS medical school, a collaboration between Duke University and the National University of Singapore, announced last week that clinical trials were approved in Singapore for their LUNAR-COV19 vaccine candidate, according to The Times of Israel.
“Preclinical studies on LUNAR-COV19 have shown very promising findings, including the possibility that a single dose of this vaccine may be sufficient to trigger robust and durable immune responses,” said Professor Ooi Eng Eong, Deputy Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Duke-NUS.
Let us pray together
Join me in thanking God that His plans stand firm forever. We can trust our Lord completely as we bring our requests to Him. Please pray with me for:
- Wisdom for Israel’s government in light of the increase in coronavirus cases
- The approval and advancement of effective new technologies to help fight the pandemic and save lives, including development of a vaccine against coronavirus
- Protection from terrorist groups like Hezbollah and others who seek to harm Israel and the Jewish people
- Jewish people to seek their Messiah Jesus and put their trust in Him
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Let us continue to trust our Lord – His plans stand firm forever, through all generations. I hope that both encourages and comforts you today.