Health Ministry warns of tightening rules as corona cases surge

If the number of serious cases continues its upward trend, harsher restrictions will need to be enforced, the Health Ministry says.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Hezi Levy, director general of Israel’s Health Ministry, said on Tuesday that if the number of serious cases rises to 600-to-700, serious restrictions will be considered. Trending numbers suggest Israel is headed in that direction.

The number of serious cases stands at 427, up from 417 yesterday. It’s the highest number since the pandemic began. The number of confirmed cases in the last 24 hours is the highest its been since July 24 – 1,888.

Numbers have been rising over the last few days. The increasing number of cases may be a result of festivities connected to a Muslim holiday. Five of the top seven clusters of high corona incidence listed by the Health Ministry on Tuesday are Arab communities.

Corona czar Ronni Gamzu complained about Arab-Israelis during the holiday, saying they weren’t following health guidelines.

Israel has found that religious holidays result in an increase in the spread of the disease if there are no restrictions in place. The IDF intelligence branch recently warned that the Jewish holidays next month, marked by communal prayer and family gatherings, will similarly lead to a rise in corona cases.

“There is a direct connection between the degree of restrictions or the lack thereof during the holidays and the sickness trends in the public celebrating them in the weeks following,” Israel’s intelligence branch said.

“The period following the Purim holiday, which was celebrated without extensive restrictions, was accompanied by a sharp increase in illness among the Jewish public only,” it noted.

“On the other hand, Passover, Independence Day and Lag B’Omer took place at a time when extensive restrictions were imposed and after that there was no increase in sickness. During Shavuot, when the public returned to small family meals, there was a moderate increase in sickness,” it reported.

As a result, Israel’s Health Ministry is urging that the Breslov Hasidim not be allowed to travel to Uman, Ukraine, where the founder of their branch of Judaism is buried. Thousands of Breslov travel there annually during the Jewish New Year to visit his grave.

Health Ministry Director General Levi urged the Breslov not to visit. The Breslov have balked at the idea and their members insist they will reach Uman even if they have to travel by indirect routes. Already hundreds have arrived in Uman a month ahead of schedule, fearing that flights will be cancelled in the lead-up to the holidays.