Workers at Sheba Hospital, which has been at the center of coronavirus treatment in Israel, received notice that they are not to admit patients who live in chareidi population centers to the emergency room, Walla News reported. Chareidim join a list of other “suspect” individuals – including Palestinians, individuals who returned from abroad, and patients who were recently hospitalized for other conditions – who warrant special treatment before being admitted to the hospital.
The notice instruct staff in the hospital to ask individuals who appear to be chareidi where they live, and if the answer is one of several large chareidi population centers – including Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer and Elad – that individual is referred to the hospital’s coronavirus-care department, without being tested or otherwise evaluated, and without even showing any symptoms. Once in the coronavirus ward, they are tested for the disease, and are not released for general treatment unless the results come back negative.
Speaking to Walla News, a senior official at the hospital said “when I see a chareidi individual I see someone whom [sic] I fear has been exposed. This is the right thing to do, and a requirement. It should be implemented not just in the Emergency Room, but in all hospital departments. This is the best way to keep everyone safe. If the chances are high they are infected and they are only visiting the hospital, they don’t need to be here.”
Speaking to Yediot Acharonot, Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman expressed support for the imposition of a total curfew on Bnei Brak. “The situation there is terrible,” he said. “The city should be completely closed. I asked the government for that, I pushed for it. The government is examining the possibility.” Speaking Monday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that police and IDF soldiers would place an emphasis on ensuring that residents of chareidi areas keep to the quarantine rules, after numerous media reports of violations.