The settlement of Kedumim in the northern West Bank has turned into a COVID-19 hotspot after a slew of violations of health regulations spanning across two weeks.
According to health officials' estimates, the outbreak began after a local family participated in a wedding that took place outside the settlement last month. Some guests at the event were later found to be carrying the pathogen. The family returned to the settlement without knowing that some of them have also contracted the virus.
An epidemiological investigation was able to link at least 18 of Kedumim's 44 coronavirus cases to the event. Some 500 residents were in isolation after coming in contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients.
In the following days after the wedding, family visits of relatives residing outside the settlement, shared Shabbat suppers and other social gatherings in which participants flouted health guidelines helped coronavirus spread further within the community, with dozens of its members becoming infected.
At the peak of the outbreak, almost 800 residents were ordered to self-isolate and schools were almost completely shuttered. Police were called to conduct house inspections and patrols in the settlement.
Kedumim Regional Council leader Hananel Dorani said that it took authorities a week to grasp the full extent of the outbreak since none of the settlement's residents have contracted the virus before.
Having conducted over 2,000 coronavirus tests in the previous week, local leaders hope that increased testing, alongside contact tracing and quarantine, could significantly reduce the number of active coronavirus patients in the settlement by next week.