Lockdown Imposed on Beitar Illit

Rabbi Meir Rubinstein, mayor of Beitar Ilit. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90/File)


The government decided on Tuesday night to impose a lockdown on the chareidi city of Beitar Illit due to the spread of coronavirus.

The municipality was declared a restricted area by ministerial order from Wednesday, July 8 at 8 a.m. to July 15, 8 a.m.

Travel into and out of the city will be limited, as will be traffic and business operations inside it.

The decision was sent to the Knesset Law Committee for its approval as soon as possible.

The city of approximately 56,000 people has recorded 157 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, more than anywhere else apart from Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Ashdod and Petah Tikva, which have much larger populations.

Beitar Ilit Mayor Meir Rubinstein has been trying to head off the move, arguing that in the absence of a concrete plan to evacuate and house virus carriers, a lockdown will “only intensify infection rates of the city and turn it into an incubator. The decision shows the terrible failure in dealing with the second wave,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the contrary reeled from news of over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry announced that as of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, halls and banquet venues will be closed. Until then, events are limited to 50 people at these locations.

Struggling to bring the pandemic second wave under control, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein is about to name a coronavirus czar. In a press conference Monday, Edelstein said he will soon name “a special manager for the campaign against the coronavirus. His role will be to integrate the matter, beginning with the testing system, through disrupting the infection chain and other activities related to the virus,” Edelstein said.

Channel 13 said that Maj. Gen. (Res.) Roni Numa is the leading candidate for the post.

Numa, who retired from the IDF in 2018, was appointed earlier this year to administer the lockdown of Bnei Brak earlier this year a difficult operation that was regarded as successful.

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