The first victim of the coronavirus in the Antwerp community was Meir Mishka Elyashkov, 64, of the Georgian kehilla,
There are currently 4,937 cases of the coronavirus in Belgium and 178 fatalities.
Leaders of the Jewish community have predicted that the coronavirus will be contracted by 85% of the community, a higher number than experts have predicted for the general population, due to the Belgian Jewish community’s close-knit ties.
Michael Freilich, a frum politician from Antwerp told JTA that Jews may suffer a higher infection rate “because Antwerp Jews all know each other, each synagogue is an extended family.”
“If the average Belgian person has a circle of 15 close friends and family,” he said, “then with Antwerp Jews it’s 150 people.”
The Belgian government ordered a partial lockdown on its citizens on Monday.
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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)