Coronavirus Committee Considering Closures, Restrictions on Nine Cities

Police put up roadblocks in Beitar Illit, which is under a week-long lockdown due to the high numers of newly infected with the coronavirus, Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Ministerial Committee on Restricted Affairs met on Wednesday night to discuss the closure of cities across the country, according to N12 News.

After a long night of discussions, the Health Ministry formulated the requirements for closure and new restrictions on neighborhoods and cities with high rates of corona morbidity and widespread spread of the virus. The demands were formulated after a meeting with the Deputy Director General of the Health Ministry, Prof. Itamar Grotto. The Committee of Ministers for Restricted Areas will meet again Thursday to discuss and decide on the recommendations.

The cities, where coronavirus has spread at a higher rate, include Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak, Raanana, Modi’in Illit, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Malachi, Lod, Ramle and Ashdod.

The Health Ministry made its recommendations to the ministerial committee and demanded a full closure of Modi’in Illit and Ramle, as both cities saw a significant increase in new cases of coronavirus in recent days.

The Health Ministry sought to close two neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh, as well as to fully close the education system from the age of nine, including the yeshivos and kollelim. The Health Ministry is seeking to extend the closure of parts of the city of Lod and add three additional neighborhoods to the current lockdown.

Yerushalayim Mayor Moshe Leon sent a letter to the Health Ministry expressing his opposition to a closure on parts of the city, but in a document drafted by the ministry, there is a request to close five neighborhoods (Romema, Maalot Dafna, Kiryat Sanz, Ramot and Har Nof). In addition, there is a request to close the education system from the age of nine, including yeshivos and kollelim.

The Health Ministry also wants to lock down the Achuzot Rotem neighborhood and the Chabad neighborhood in Kiryat Malachi. The ministry didn’t recommend to close the city of Ra’anana, but instead requested to intensify tests, following a student party event with dozens testing positive after the party.

Beitar Illit was declared a restricted zone for seven days, until next Wednesday.

These measures come as the government scrambles to stem the spread of the virus in the country and has reintroduced several of the restrictions Israel emerged from only weeks ago.

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