Ambulance with MDA staff to help with coronavirus
Ambulance with MDA staff to help with coronavirus Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The National Information and Knowledge Center for Coronavirus on Monday published statistics showing a dramatic increase in coronavirus infections in the Wadi Ara and Negev areas, Israel Hayom reported.

The report, which reflects numbers from the beginning of June, recommends increasing testing, enforcement, and informational campaigns in the area.

Regarding Wadi Ara, the report says that, "Beginning on June 1, 59 people were infected in the area, and there are approximately 64 active cases. Twenty-four of them are from Umm al-Fahm, 15 from Arara, 13 from Kafr Qara, 10 from the Maaleh Iron Regional Council, and two from the Basma Local Council. At the end of last week, a significant rise in infections was noted in the area, with another 28 patients diagnosed, for a rise of nearly 47%."

"The amount of positive tests in June was 3.5%, but last weekend the amount rose to 7%. In all of these towns, the number of tests relative to the population is less than the national average."

The Center added that "most (81%) of the new patients in the area are under the age of 50, and just 5% of them are over age 70."

"Epidemiological investigations conducted, in which the infectors of 70% of the patients were located, showed that the current infections in the Wadi Ara and Nahal Iron towns began, apparently, as a result of infections by patients from other areas of Israel (mostly Jaffa, Arara Banegev, and Rahat). During the second stage, the infections spread as a result of travel by patients between the towns in Nahal Iron, and at the same time the disease spread within each town.

"Most of the infections occurred at home or at social events."

Regarding the infections in the Negev area, the Center said that "trends were checked in 20 relatively large towns in the area, between the dates of June 1-21."

"The rise in infections in the Bedouin sector began during the last week of May. In light of the rise, the number of tests in the various towns was increased, and revealed a very high infection rate - a trend that continues until today.

"This is also due to the family and commercial connections between the various segments of the Bedouin sector in the Negev and the Palestinian population in the southern Hebron hills, which saw a new outbreak (approximately 170 patients) in the past few days."

The report emphasizes the need for better enforcement, as well as explanations - especially for women and children - regarding quarantines, not holding gatherings, and wearing masks.

It also noted that there needs to be "an increase in tests, explanations, and general enforcement of social distancing in Be'er Sheva, where infections are widespread, and which serves as a regional center which may receive and pass on infections to the rest of the area; in Arad, which also serves as a city center for residents of Arara Banegev; and in Kiryat Gat - in light of the large number of patients and the high percentage of positive tests."

"The spread of coronavirus infections is evident in most areas of the Negev, and demands quick and significant steps to stop the spread."