Municipality officials on Monday urged residents of an entire neighborhood in south Tel Aviv not to go outside after five members of a local family tested positive for coronavirus.
As a result, Ichilov Hospital said they will establish a coronavirus testing center in the neighborhood in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipality, which will begin operating on Tuesday from 9am to 2pm.
The parents and their three children, from the Neve Ofer neighborhood, had recently complained about a loss of taste to medical specialists but were not tested for COVID-19 since they did not show any other symptoms of the virus, such as fever and cough.
On Wednesday, the Tel Aviv Municipality notified the residents about the results of the family’s epidemiological investigations, telling them to avoid going outside if possible.
"The residents of the neighborhood are required to follow the Health Ministry's instructions. To wear masks, avoid overcrowding, large gatherings and adhere to hygiene rules," the municipality said in a statement.
A friend of the affected family said the parents’ test results arrived last Thursday and since then all the family members have been in self-isolation, including the three children.
"The children have been very active for the past week," the family friend said. "One of them started going to school, in the ultra-Orthodox sector, and for a few days there was complete uncertainty. The family has been asking to get tested for a whole week and only on Sunday did they [medical officials] test the children."
He also said that three of the family's six children had been infected. "It widens the circle of people who require isolation. These are kids who don't have cell phones, you can't tell where they were and who they went with or who they played with on the football field."
Municipality official Elhanan Zvulun, who lives in the neighborhood, said Thursday he realized there might be a COVID-19 outbreak in the neighborhood.
Zvulun added the residents of the neighborhood were instructed not to pray in synagogue courtyards and to avoid unnecessary crowds.
"In retrospect, this may have saved the neighborhood," he said. "Both the Rashi school and the school of the Maayan Torah network, where the children go, were closed on Thursday. We hope this is what will save the situation," Zvulon said.
"The municipality has approached the Health Ministry in an effort to increase the scope of testing in the neighborhood," said the earlier statement issued by the municipality. "In addition, at the residents' request, the municipality this morning disinfected several locations in the neighborhood, including the commercial center and public gardens."
“Residents who have been exposed to a verified carrier and who have been placed in solitary confinement should report this to the Health Ministry."