Photo Credit: Flash90
Health Ministry's director general, Prof. Hezi Levy.

In a briefing for the Haredi media, the Health Ministry’s director-general, Prof. Hezi Levy, said that the Haredi society is responsible for 34% of the pandemic cases in Israel. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, only about 14% of Israelis define themselves as Haredim.

According to Prof. Levy, the Haredi sector, due to overcrowding and the prayers and celebrations that have been performed in defiance of the regulations, is suffering from a vast expansion of the virus.

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Prof. Levy added that this situation affects the Haredi population, the rate of morbidity in Israel in general, and the pressure on the country’s hospitals. He stressed that in the past week and a half, there has been a sharp increase in the number of deaths in Haredi communities.

According to Levy, the mortality rate in the Haredi sector is 2.5 per million, compared to the population at large, where the overall mortality rate is 1.8 per million.

The Corona Cabinet is convening on Wednesday to debate the continued lockdown. The Cabinet will discuss the readiness of the system to treat 1,500 patients in critical condition and to protect the elderly and the homes for the elderly. Currently, occupancy of corona beds in hospitals has reached 85% of capacity, with the daily number of active patients doubling every 26 days. The red cities of Beitar Illit, Tiberias, Rehovot, Ashdod, and Modi’in Illit are raising their weekly number of active patients by a coefficient of between 1.8 and 1.5. 10.8% of those infected are over the age of 60.

Communications Minister Yoaz Handel (Derech Eretz) announced that he would present the cabinet with seven steps for an exit strategy from the Corona crisis, starting with the appointment of a leaner Corona cabinet comprised of only the Prime Minister, the Alternate Prime Minister, and two other ministers. He also wants to start live coverage of Corona cabinet debates, save for very sensitive ones.

Also, Minister Handel proposes that the Corona Czar and the Cabinet present clear and measurable morbidity targets and exit strategies for each decision they pass. These would be published so the public is aware of the progress in real-time.

The Minister also proposed the establishment of a red team composed of experts who will examine the work of the Corna Cabinet and present alternatives. Also: hospital administrators should report on bed occupancy and morbidity rates in their facilities. And he wants the chairman of the opposition and the chairman of the Knesset Corona Committee be invited once a week to visit the Corona Cabinet and be updated on the situation, with the full available data and planned steps.

The Minister of Communications also suggests that the lockdown be decided by the government until the level of infection is reduced to 100 patients per day.

Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch told Reshet Bet radio that “we are expecting a prolonged lockdown that will last more than a month but not every week will look like the one before.”

According to Kisch, reopening the labor market will be relatively quick because it is a necessary step for the economy. In contrast, schools will not resume in the foreseeable future, at least not in the upper grades.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.