Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on Wednesday his decision to impose travel restrictions to and from the predominately ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak after the rate of infection from coronavirus there is double anywhere else in the country.
"All needs of residents will be filled, and those who are confirmed with coronavirus but do not require hospitalization, will be taken to dedicated hotels for treatment," Netanyahu said.
Other areas where quarantine has not been observed will also have travel restrictions imposed on them.
The prime minister said the ultra-Orthodox community has come to understand the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic and has begun observing health directives. The Bnei Brak municipality welcomed the governments move.
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in ultra-Orthodox communities, medical teams at the Rabin Medical Center were Wednesday instructed to test every patient from these areas, including nearby Bnei Brak and settlements in the northern West Bank.
The test was to be performed on every arriving patient, regardless of the reason that brought them to the hospital.
To reinforce the urgency to medical teams, the hospital said a Bnei Brak resident who had been admitted with heart problems had tested positive for coronavirus, despite having no respiratory symptoms or fever.
"We will keep teams informed of any other instructions regarding at-risk populations. Please make sure you are in full compliance," the hospital wrote to its staff.
On Tuesday, Sheba Medical Center, which is close to Rabin, was instructed to isolate people from areas with a large ultra-Orthodox population, regardless of their symptoms.
As of Wednesday morning, 730 Bnei Brak residents were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus - a jump of 159 cases from Tuesday evening, This is a higher spike than anywhere else in the country.
In Jerusalem, a rise in cases has also been reported with the number of confirmed patients up to 781 from Tuesday's 650. The two cities are seeing the highest increase in COVID-19 patients.
Police forces are continuing to enforce Health Ministry regulations in ultra-Orthodox areas of Jerusalem and detained three people.
Police forces and IDF troops handed out food supplies to civilians in Bnei Brak as the local government pledged to keep serving the population.
City officials praised police for their actions, expressing the hope that any who violates the measures would be punished severely.
However, the officials oppose initiatives to impose closures on Bnei Brak, calling it an act of war that should be used to fight terror and not civilians.
The prime minister urged all Israelis to maintain Health Ministry regulations in the days leading up to the Passover holiday and to conduct the Seder meal with close family only, announcing a government grant to families with children before the Passover holiday.
Netanyahu told Israelis to use facial masks when leaving home to protect themselves and others. he also announced a government grant to families with children before the Passover holiday.
First published: 21:31, 04.01.20