Gamzu threatens lockdown as infections hit new peak

Ronni Gamzu / Photo: GPO

Covid-19 infections in Israel continue to rise with over 3,000 people testing positive on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

New Covid-19 infections in Israel continue to rise with 3,074 people testing positive on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health, and nearly 23,698 active cases in Israel. 418 people are hospitalized in serious condition including 118 on respirators. 969 people have died of the coronavirus in Israel and on average Israel is currently recording 13 daily fatalities. 96,662 people have recovered. 34,000 tests were carried out on Wednesday with a 9% positive testing rate.

National Coronavirus Project Coordinator Prof. Ronni Gamzu yesterday visited Beitar Illit where he condemned the flagrant violation of Ministry of Health instructions. "Unfortunately we see a systematic violation of instructions. Each evening events are held in the city, which violate procedures and yesterday, in contravention of our instructions, education institutions opened in the city. I understand the complexity of the situation but I am telling you unequivocally that without increased enforcement and encouraging testing, we will have to make complicated decisions that may even end up in full lockdown."

Gamzu had harsh words for ultra-Orthodox leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky who instructed yeshiva students to stop being tested because they were being conducted 'at the expense of learning Torah.' His instruction came as 100 yeshiva students in Karmiel tested positive even though they were supposed to be learning in 'capsules' (separated groups). Gamzu said, "Rabbi Kanievsky's announcement endangers the ultra-Orthodox public because of future infections."

The Magen Israel campaign to eliminate Covid-19, which Gamzu heads, claims that the start of the Yeshiva study year on the 1st of Elul (August 21) is the reason for the recent spike in new coronavirus cases. Gamzu wants the yeshivas closed.

Gamzu said, "The persistent refusal to cooperate by some 'red' (high infection rate) cities could result in even worse morbidity. Currently 28% of overall infections are in Arab society and 22% of infections in Israel are in ultra-Orthodox society. A major rise in the scope of new infections will require that we also take harsh measures on a national level. Without a substantial change in the trend by September 10, we will need to form new and more far reaching instructions that will significantly affect the routine of life outside of the 'red' cities."

In Beitar Illit yesterday Gamzu said, "We see 14% positive results in testing in the city and the responsibility for the situation is now in your hands. We need to mobilize the full cooperation of the municipality and its heads and I am sure that residents will obey every order and instruction. A swift return to routine depends only on you - stricter observance of the instructions will protect you and your families."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 3, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Ronni Gamzu / Photo: GPO
Ronni Gamzu / Photo: GPO
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