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i24NEWS DESK | Israel’s Health Ministry said on Saturday that the ultra-Orthodox community has the highest contamination rates in the country and fear that numbers could spike if action isn’t taken soon.
The two cities with the highest number of patients were Jerusalem, with 352 confirmed cases, and Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv, with 267 people. Tel Aviv, meanwhile, has recorded only 211 cases.
According to officials who spoke to Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel N12, the high contamination rates are due to gatherings that have taken place within the ultra-Orthodox community including weddings, prayer services, and other events, despite restrictive measures required by the government.
Lack of widespread communication platforms has also contributed to the spread of the disease, with many ultra-Orthodox communities shunning computers and telephones connected to the internet.
Earlier this week, a government official reported that synagogues were the main contagion in Israel, with infections accounting for almost a quarter of known cases not imported from abroad or contracted at home.
On several occasions, clashes have also been reported between the ultra-Orthodox and the police who were trying to enforce the restrictions.
Bnei Brak mayor Avraham Rubinstein, who is currently under quarantine as a precaution, urged residents on Friday to “wake up!” and follow government instructions.
He called on the population “to stop coming together to recite the prayers, adhere to social distancing rules, and to only go out when necessary.”