Lockdown to Remain Imposed on Designated Red Zones

Just hours before the Shabbat on Friday, several ministers of the coronavirus cabinet settled an argument regarding the lockdown in the country. The cabinet was able to make a unanimous decision to extend the lockdown imposed on ‘red zones’ or areas with a high infection rate. 

The rest of the country, on the other hand, is going to start resuming operations from Sunday as scheduled. Some cities such as Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, Rehasim, Elad, and various areas of Jerusalem will continue to be under lockdown. It has been reported that at least until Wednesday, these red zones will observe strict rules of the lockdown. However, the ministers revealed that they had decided to allow preschools to resume educational activities in these areas. 

Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the coronavirus commissioner also gave a statement on Friday morning, via his spokeswoman. He reported that a declining trend had been noticed in the morbidity data, which led to the removal of Kiryat Malachi and Beit Shemesh as red zones. Several neighborhoods of Jerusalem were also taken off the list. 

It was Gamzu himself who had advised that the lockdown of the red zones be extended until Wednesday. He estimated that if the fall in the morbidity trend continued, there will be few to no red areas in the country by Thursday. But, his recommendation was not well received, especially by the mayors of the cities with a high infection rate. One of these mayors was Avraham Rubinstein, who heads the Orthodox city of Bnei Brak. He argued that the city had been able to considerably reduce the morbidity and therefore, did not warrant the extended closure. The head also demanded the resumption of educational activities. 

A source reported on Friday morning that the morbidity trend was swiftly falling in the country. The red zones were also able to curb an increase in the number of cases. Health Ministry also used its data to analyze that of all the people tested in Jerusalem in the past seven days, only 8.2% of them tested positive for the virus. 

In the city of Beitar Illit, the percentage of people diagnosed with the virus fell from 24% to 15% in the past week alone. 

Katz, the Finance Minister of the country stated that he was forming a special team, which would help provide a greater amount of financial aid to the people residing in red zones. He wants to ensure that people are able to get through this difficult period unscathed. During the cabinet meeting, he also said that as these high-infection areas continued to remain under lockdown, the Interior Ministry will be given a special budget. According to him, this budget will go beyond the usual aid program. 

Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister, also talked to 40 of the heads of previously labeled red cities on Friday. They assured him that he had their complete support in turning current red zones into green ones, the way they had done with theirs.