Israel's confirmed coronavirus cases jump by 40 percent in 24 hours

JERUSALEM, March 18 (Reuters) - Confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel have jumped by 40 percent to 427 in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, predicting a steeper rise as mass-testing is implemented.

Having urged Israelis to stay home and approved cyber-monitoring of their movements to reduce infection risks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at least 3,000 coronavirus tests would be conducted daily, including at new drive-through stations.

“We will reach a situation in which there are many hundreds of new patients each day, and possibly more,” Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, director-general of the Health Ministry, told Israel’s Army Radio.

Up from the 304 confirmed cases reported on Tuesday morning, five of the 427 patients were in a critical condition, the ministry said.

There have been no reports of coronavirus fatalities in Israel or the Palestinian territories.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians health officials have confirmed 44 cases. None have been detected in the densely populated Gaza Strip. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Alex Richardson)