Health Ministry worried about Yom Kippur COVID-19 spike

According to Health Ministry, current lockdown will have to be extended by at least 1-2 weeks to flatten curve of new infections.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

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The Health Ministry is very concerned that the Yom Kippur prayer services may lead to a large spike in new coronavirus cases as Israel already sees a record number of daily infections. This is despite guidelines limiting the number of worshippers per prayer quorum, Channel 12 News reported.

After more than 8,000 new patients were confined in the last day, the ministry raises the concern that prayers in closed places of even a few people may produce further spread of the disease.

The ministry also noted the increase in morbidity in the haredi sector, which currently accounts for about a quarter of the tests conducted among the haredi. It is still unclear whether this is the effect of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, or whether that effect has not yet been fully felt.

In addition, the Health Ministry noted that outdoor prayer can also lead to infection if it is not held according to the proper social distancing conditions.

The ministry estimates that the current lockdown, which is supposed to last about two weeks, will take longer, at least or a week and possibly even two weeks more, in order to stop the rise in infections and perhaps even reduce them a little.

In a video released by the Prime Minister ahead of Yom Kippur, Netanyahu said, "We are in the midst of a global war and a global epidemic. Even if there are those who violate the guidelines - do not follow them. I ask of you what the rabbis have asked, what my friend Aryeh Deri asked. And I ask you, as the Prime Minister of Israel, to pray in the synagogue every Yom Kippur - do not go to synagogues this year, pray outside. Take care of yourselves."