At least 140 students from a yeshiva in the Haredi city of Bnei Brak have tested positive for coronavirus, health officials confirmed on Sunday.
Bnei Brak has emerged as COVID-19 hotspot at the start of the epidemic in Israel and currently has the second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, with Jerusalem currently topping the alarming chart.
Eighty of the infected at Yeshivat Beit Matityahu have already been transported to specially designated hotels, meant to treat patients in mild condition, and 60 others are still waiting to be evacuated.
The students will most likely be taken to a coronavirus treatment center in Nir Etzion, a religious moshav shitufi in northern Israel, which is set to begin operating sometime on Sunday.
There are over 500 students attending the prestigious religious school, all of whom are currently in isolation.
Last week, when the outbreak at the yeshiva was first revealed, Bnei Brak Municipality in an emergency meeting, decided to impose restrictions on movement in and around the educational institution, with police enforcing entry bans on anyone who is not a resident of the street where the school is located.
Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein also approved the decision to boost enforcement teams, which will focus on private educational institutions and yeshivas in the city.
"The policy in Bnei Brak is zero tolerance for any violation of coronavirus regulations," said the mayor. "We will continue to abide the laws in order to stop the infection."