Israeli HMO Director Estimates There Are 75,000 Coronavirus Carriers In Bnei Brak

Israeli police officers take out Ultra orthodox jewish men from the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, as part of an effort to enforce lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, April 2, 2020. Photo by Flash90

BNEI BRAK (VINnews) — The director of the Maccabi HMO, Professor Ran Sa’ar, said Thursday that “Maccabi treats about a half of the residents of Bnei Brak and according to various indications we are receiving, about 38% of Bnei Brak’s residents are sick, which corresponds to about 75,000 people.”

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Sa’ar, who was speaking at the corona committee set up by the Knesset, added that ” I call from here to all those responsible to place police there on the eve of Pesach, otherwise the situation there will go from bad to worse. We will find ourselves with lots of fatalities in Bnei Brak if we do not prepare beforehand for Pesach.”

City Council member Moshe Morgenstern who holds Bnei Brak’s health portfolio, claimed in an interview with Srugim that the situation is now under control: “We are the most densely populated city in Israel with 200,000 residents in just 7000 dunams. Besides this density the houses are extremely crowded with families of 8 to 10 person in 80-meter apartments. Let’s add to that equation the fact that there is no internet, no television and no computer. What do you do with children of three, four and five who cannot go to the park or the courtyard? It is really impressive. I personally don’t know how you can survive such conditions and if despite that you don’t see anyone around and the city is totally empty it makes you wonder how they manage.”

Morgenstern said it took time for the public to internalize the regulations but at this point people are complying with them despite the hectic Pesach preparations. He added that the city is one of the poorest in Israel and many residents rely on the Kimcha D’Pischa distribution for basic Pesach food supplies. Instead of using distribution centers for Kimcha D’Pischa which could lead to crowding and infection, the city and welfare authorities are trying to distribute items individually to families.

He added that making a total lockdown on Bnei Brak -prohibiting entry and exit, as is being discussed by the government – would be counterproductive as “making a ghetto- excuse the expression- would just increase infection and the government would not be able to cater to all the needs of a city of 200,000.” However Morgenstern approved of the present situation where people can leave the city  for specific goals as he feels that this is a tenable solution for residents.

Regarding the heavy criticism directed at the Chareidi public, Morgenstern said that “I am pained and crying over this. We are brothers! The corona will end but we will have to live together afterwards. One can offer criticism but the way people spoke and the searches for those violating the regulations, these are terrible things.”



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