Headquarters to Help Stop the Spread of Coronavirus in ‘Red’ Chareidi Cities Launched

Police put up roadblocks in Beitar Illit, which was then under a lockdown due to the high numers of newly infected with the coronavirus, July 9. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A new special headquarters to help stop the spread of coronavirus in chareidi cities and communities was launched Sunday morning under the authority of Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the country’s new coronavirus commissioner.

On Friday, Prof. Gamzu met with representatives from Yerushalayim, Ashdod, Elad, Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Beit Shemesh and Beitar Illit, as well as top representatives of the Home Front Command to discuss the establishment of the headquarters. The goal, he said, was to “prevent a lock down by working together.”

The common goal, he stressed, is to lower the spread of infection. As such, although his “traffic light” program was approved by the government and he plans to start it in full on Sept. 1, he said some immediate actions should be taken.

As part of the new program, a 24/7 headquarters will operate with representatives of the Israel Police, health funds and Home Front Command. In each city, the headquarters will be run by a director that reports to the mayor.

The headquarters is charged with monitoring testings, conducting epidemiological investigations and deciding with the police if there is a need for closures.

The authorities will also work to prevent large gatherings and contact between sick people and their families, as well as help increase mask wearing. Coronavirus patients will be encouraged to isolate in a coronavirus hotel and those families who need support during a family member’s isolation will receive it through the headquarters. It was also decided that they would work to expand the cooperation of the chareidi public in the investigations themselves.

The responsibility for ensuring the success of the program is Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa. He currently runs the Central Command of the IDF.

At the meeting on Friday, Gamzu referred to the traffic light system he had planned. “Public trust has been damaged by previous closures, so we have decided to give cities an opportunity to prove themselves and reduce morbidity. It is a complex and not a simple task, I do not know if we will succeed in it.”

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