There are 900 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak as of Thursday, an increase of 25%, the second-highest number of cases after Jerusalem, which has 916 cases in a population five times the size.
Prof. Ran Saar, the director of Maccabi Health Services in Bnei Brak estimated on Thursday that about 75,000 people in Bnei Brak are infected with the coronavirus.
“Around half of Bnei Brak’s residents belong to Maccabi,” Saar said. “According to our data and estimates, around 38% of the city’s residents are already infected with coronavirus, which is about 75,000 people.”
“I hope the government will send a large police force to the city before Pesach in order to save the situation from deteriorating further. There is a relatively large percentage of elderly people in Bnei Brak who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus and we could find ourselves with a large number of dead if steps are not taken.”
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett visited Bnei Brak on Thursday morning and spoke with Bnei Brak Mayor Avraham Rubenstein, currently in self-quarantine, by video conference and met Maj. Gen. Roni Noma, who heads the headquarters for the effort against the spread of the coronavirus in the city. He also spoke with MK Aryeh Deri who has been appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to lead the initiative to minimize the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak.
ששר הבריאות בבידוד אז שר הביטחון בנט מחליף את העבודה ויצא לסיור פתע ברחבי בני ברק במספר סופרים וחנויות מכולת. pic.twitter.com/mwMLcmPYUX
— אריאל אלחרר (@ariel_elharar_) April 2, 2020
“Bnei Brak residents are handling the situation in an exemplary fashion,” Bennett said at the end of his visit. “IDF soldiers are providing support for Bnei Brak residents, our brothers. The situation in the city is complex but I’m happy to see the widespread response from city residents in adhering to the guidelines.”
“Bnei Brak differs in many ways from other places: large families in small apartments, a younger than usual population…disconnection from the Internet, and apparently a relatively high number of coronavirus cases. Together we’ll undertake efforts to win over the coronavirus in ways that are appropriate for the city’s needs.”
According to Health Ministry data, Bnei Brak has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in Israel relative to its population. In first place is Telzstone, which had an outbreak of the virus before Purim, and has 30 coronavirus cases in its population of 5,500 residents.
The town of Efrat in Gush Etzion has the second-highest number of coronavirus patients relative to its population of 10,000. There are 52 confirmed cases of the virus, most of them in the Givat HaTamar neighborhood, where there was a neighborhood Purim seudah with many participants, which turned out to be an incubator for the coronavirus.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)