Israel: Bnei Brak city on lockdown as coronavirus hits ultra-orthodox community

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Israeli authorities imposed a lockdown on the ultra-orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv on Friday, after a recent surge in coronavirus cases registered in the municipality.

The main access to the town can be seen cordoned by the Israeli Army officers, with police agents deployed inside the patrolled area.

Bnei Brak has become the second city after Jerusalem to have a significant surge in coronavirus cases, with a 27.8 per cent increase of confirmed cases on Tuesday night alone.

The lockdown measures have been announced on Thursday night after health authorities announced that up to 38 per cent of the population might have contracted the disease.

Many members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, who live in large families, have restricted access to the internet and limited information on the current global pandemic, and were reported to continue with religious gatherings such as prayers and weddings despite the nationwide restrictions.

Israel has registered over 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 38 deaths as of Friday.

SOT, Moshe, Resident (Hebrew): “People that need to buy essential things go out now as before, they buy fruits and vegetables and go out if it is essential, like you.”

SOT, Ofer Shelah, Head of Knesset coronavirus committee (Hebrew): “There is still no understanding on the national level about special efforts needed in Bnei Brak, including using different ways with tests and distancing residents and of course putting resources in this place which is on the verge of humanitarian crisis”  Video ID: 20200403-030

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