Majdal Shams
Majdal Shams
Photo; Gilad Carmeli
Majdal Shams

Majdal Shams goes under second coronavirus lockdown

Locals hopeful restrictions will help lower community's COVID-19 morbidity, others blame renewed outbreak in the northern Druze town on those who 'do not believe or care about the virus'

Ahiya Raved |
Published: 10.26.20 , 20:13
Following declaration by ministers Sunday that the northern Druze town of Majdal Shams went into lockdown Monday evening after a ministerial committee designated it a "red zone" due to high coronavirus morbidity.
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  • The five-day lockdown took effect at 6pm Monday during which all roads leading in and out of the community will be closed.
    Majdal Shams Majdal Shams
    Majdal Shams
    (Photo; Gilad Carmeli)
    According to Health Ministry data, the village has reported 56 virus patients for every 10,000 residents, the highest ratio in Israel.
    Schools and non-essential businesses were shut down and public gatherings were banned, chief among them weddings and funerals which are believed to have attributed to the community's rising infection rate.
    Food shops and pharmacies remain open, by midday Monday many were already closed, some serving only take-outs.
    However, some younger locals walk around without protective face masks.
    Many admitted that they "do not believe in coronavirus", one stating that "even those who became ill said they felt nothing. The results come back positive – but they are not sick."
    Dolan Abu Salah, head of the Majdal Shams local council Dolan Abu Salah, head of the Majdal Shams local council
    Dolan Abu Salah, head of the Majdal Shams local council
    (Photo: Ynet)
    Dolan Abu Salah, head of the Majdl Shams local council, told Ynet that the decision to reimplement the lockdown was made in cooperation with municipality officials.
    "I think the restrictions are justified," he said. "We are dealing with an emergency, the outbreaks happened because of weddings, funerals and mass gatherings that have happened lately."
    He said that town officials tried to plead with residents to adhere to public health directives, but to no avail.
    "The local council did all it could to keep Majdal Shams clean from the virus, but the moment a few act irresponsibly, you have many ill as a result," he said.
    Zayed Awidat, a local shop owner, said he always makes sure customers enter his business with a face cover and no more than 4-5 people at once.
    זיד עוויידאתזיד עוויידאת
    Zayed Awidat
    (Photo: Aviho Shapira)
    "People are not disregarding public health orders, especially not in the past ten days," he said. "There were a number of funerals, one after the other, that many people wanted to attend."
    "There were also a few weddings, which is why an outbreak happened. Everything went back to normal. There are now about 100 people in quarantine and a few hospitalized. We are incredibly careful when it comes to social distancing. God willing, we will get out of this."
    Faisal Abu Salah, a barber, who has not worked since the beginning of the second lockdown in September, now makes a living from various side jobs and agriculture.
    פייסל אבו סלאחפייסל אבו סלאח
    Faisal Abu Salah
    (Photo: Aviho Shapira)
    "The pay is small, there is nothing you can do about it," he said. "We do not go anywhere, go shopping or travel to save money. All the money goes to food."
    Faisal admitted he is worried he will not be able to cover his monthly expenses. "I pay in cheques, I took some money from the kids and friends to help me cover what I need. It is not easy," he said.
    Following the latest coronavirus outbreak, Faisal said that there are people "who do not care" about the disease.
    "They do not fear coronavirus and do not care," he said.
    "At the beginning, we did not understand the virus, but now many doctors are saying this is a serious matter and ask to never leave the house without a face mask."
    He hoped that the lockdown will help the community lower its morbidity rate.
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