Gamzu: 40% of newly-diagnosed virus patients are ultra-Orthodox

Coronavirus czar says during press briefing he is worried by the situation in the Haredi sector and will visit the communities to better understand 'the complexity'; hints government's conditions for lifting of lockdown unrealistic
Roi Bubinstein|
Israel's coronavirus czar said on Thursday that 40 percent of the newly-diagnosed coronavirus patients are from the ultra-Orthodox sector.
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  • Israel has seen a surge in virus cases over the past few weeks, with the Haredi community disproportionally affected by the health crisis, which some say stems from the religious public's lack of adherence to the health guidelines.
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    פרופסור רוני גמזו
    פרופסור רוני גמזו
    Prof. Ronni Gamzu
    (Photo: GPO)
    Prof. Ronni Gamzu held a press brienfing, where he presented the "worrying figure," and emphasized the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients over the age of 60 within the Haredi sector.
    "Today I will visit one of the ultra-Orthodox municipalities to get familiar with the complexity that exists there and do everything possible to encourage the residents," he told the reporters.
    "We should remembered that in the end there are also challenges within the general and the Arab sector, but in each of them we have a finger on the pulse."
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    רוני גמזו ומשה בר סימן טוב
    רוני גמזו ומשה בר סימן טוב
    Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov and Ronni Gamzu
    (Photo: AP, Orel Cohen )
    The czar, who is set to leave his post at the end of October, also addressed the rumors that former Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov is set to take over his position. "I'll be happy if there will be another czar," he said.
    Gamzu insisted the decision to impose a second nationwide lockdown was correct in the wake of the surging virus cases.
    "Obviously the lockdown was required," he said. "The numbers went up very significantly, very quickly. On September 1 we were still at 1,700-1,500 new infected a day.
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    Police enforce nationwide lockdown
    (Photo: AFP)
    "[A lockdown] is a tool you all know I did not want to use, but I said that once we cross the threshold and the hospitals would raise a white flag - I would not hesitate for a moment and indeed I asked for tighter curbs."
    The professor also hinted the government's goal of 400 new cases a day as a condition for the lockdown to be lifted is unrealistic. "I'm not sure the insistence on these numbers is the right thing to do. The goals also depend on the coefficient of infection."
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