Lockdown to End for Chareidi Cities

Israel’s coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The chareidi cities which until now have been classified as “red” and held under coronavirus lockdown, will see the restrictions lifted, after a ministerial vote on the matter Tuesday, according to media reports.

Lockdowns in Bnei Brak, Modiin Ilit, Elad, Beitar Ilit, and several neighborhoods in Yerushalayim will be ended in light of significant reductions in the infection rate.

Ramat Shlomo in Yerushalayim was an exception, and restrictions will continue there until further notice.

“We went into the lockdown with 9,000 cases and 140 red cities. We’re now in a better situation,” coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu said at a briefing. (Although The Times of Israel noted that Israel didn’t hit 9,000 cases a day until October 1, over a week into the lockdown.)

“We thought the drop would turn all red cities into orange ones, but we kept going with the closure because we thought it was the correct and safe method for everyone to continue to act this way,” he said.

The Knesset Law Committee retroactively approved the first exit stage. However, lawmakers vote to shorten the amount of time for the first stage by four days in order to pressure the government to accelerate reopening of shuls, stores, hair salons, and hotels and allowing large weddings, among other things.

Gamzu also announced that Israelis will now be able to obtain coronavirus tests freely through their HMOs, and will no longer need a referral from a doctor.

The question of when to open schools continued to frustrate ministers, though, causing a postponement of a decision until Wednesday to give them time to iron out disagreements, reported Ynet.