Protester at Mass Tel Aviv Rally Diagnosed With Coronavirus

YERUSHALAYIM -
A general view shows Rabin Square as Israelis protest against the government’s response to the financial fallout of the coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) crisis, in Tel Aviv, this past Motzoei Shabbos. (Reuters/Ilan Rosenberg)

The Health Ministry said on Wednesday that a protester who attended the mass protest in Tel Aviv against the government on Motzoei Shabbos has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Officials did not say when the individual had tested positive, so it was unclear if he had broken quarantine to attend the demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people.

The protest, the largest in Israel since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was held as the country was undergoing a surge in new cases of infections, leading the government to reintroduce some restrictions on gatherings and economic activity.

Prof. Ran Belcer, a public health expert who is advising the government on the coronavirus, told Army Radio in an interview Wednesday that statistically, it was likely that there were several coronavirus carriers at the rally.

“I hope he made sure to wear a mask and keep distance from others. If so, one may hope that this will not end with a large number of infected. Time will tell.”

Health officials had warned that the large protest could cause a spike in new cases of the virus due to demonstrators’ failure to heed social distancing regulations.

“Even while understanding the pain and concern of the protesters — it is a dangerous gathering that I fear will see results in the coming days in the number of people infected,” Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy told Army Radio on Sunday.

“It is quite clear that the demonstration is a large gathering with no compliance with the regulations against infection and the transmission of the virus from person to person,” Levy added.