Coronavirus: Night curfews on red cities to be delayed until Tuesday

Written by on September 7, 2020

More than 900 people are hospitalized, including 476 in serious condition, among them 137 who are intubated.

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing seen outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, September 6, 2020 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing seen outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, September 6, 2020

(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Ministers decided to delay the night curfews on red cities until Tuesday because discussions need to continue around the list of cities. There is opposition from the cities that have been added to the red list.

The news comes against the backdrop of a report by the Health Ministry on Monday that there were 2,257 new patients diagnosed with coronavirus on Sunday. Out of the 19,353 tests taken, 12.2% were positive cases. This is the highest percentage of positive tests since the start of the pandemic.

With the spike in infection, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to postpone a Knesset discussion scheduled for Monday to discuss his government’s ineffectiveness at handling the coronavirus crisis.

“Following the increase in morbidity and the worsening of the spread of the coronavirus across the country,” Netanyahu personally asked opposition leader Yair Lapid to push off the hearing. Lapid agreed and said it will take place another time.

More than 900 people are hospitalized, including 476 in serious condition, among them 137 who are intubated.

For perspective, on April 13, at the peak of the coronavirus crisis, there were 137 patients on ventilators.

Some 1,022 people have died from the virus in Israel.

There are 27,099 active cases of corona in the country. Since the start of September, close to 14,000 new patients have been diagnosed – an average of more than 2,000 new cases per day.

The Health Ministry has also started publishing data about infection in the sickest cities, such as Jerusalem, which has had more than 20,000 coronavirus patients and still has more than 3,200 active cases.

When looking at cases per 10,000 people, however, Jerusalem is not so high. The capital has 35 cases per 10,000 people, versus Bnei Brak with 67 and Beit Shemesh with 54. Arab cities have even more: Tira has 206 per 10,000 and Umm al-Fathm has 112.

Looking at Jerusalem by neighborhood, the majority of cases are in Arab and ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods: Beit Hanina has 412 active patients, Ramot 301, Tzur Baher 161 and Shmuel Hanavi 115, for example.

Most of these cities and several others were meant to be locked down Monday, but amid pressure from haredi (ultra-Orthodox) leaders on Sunday, Netanyahu reneged on a decision made the previous week by the coronavirus cabinet, saying that instead, some 40 “red” cities would be given “night curfews.”

The new restrictions, which were approved by the Ministerial Committee on Declaring Restricted Zones late Sunday, will go into effect on Monday at 7 p.m. and will require businesses to shutter by 7 p.m. every day and forbid people from venturing more than 500 meters from their home between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The education system would come to a halt, except for preschools and special education.

Gatherings will be limited to 10 people in closed spaces, and 20 people in open spaces.

Entering and exiting these cities, however, will be unrestricted.

The exact list of 40 cities has still not been released but is expected to be available sometime Monday.

The government pushed off passing coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu’s plan for three weeks while infection spread throughout Israel.

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