Coronavirus hotel for Arab Israelis opens in Haifa

Some 15 patients have reportedly been hospitalized in the facility.

Magen David Adom medical team members, wearing protective gear, are handling a Coronavirus test from a patient in Jerusalem, April 7, 2020. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Magen David Adom medical team members, wearing protective gear, are handling a Coronavirus test from a patient in Jerusalem, April 7, 2020.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
A coronavirus facility for Arab-Israeli patients opened in Haifa following a request from Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem, Walla News reported Wednesday afternoon.

According to Walla, the patients who arrive at the hotel are hospitalized in Haifa's student hostel compound. Some 15 patients have reportedly been hospitalized in the facility. Another coronavirus facility is expected to open in Acre's student hostel.

The Arab-Israeli community saw the lowest rate of coronavirus patients last week, with only 36 reported cases of the virus last Monday, according to N12. The report sparked a debate on whether the figure was factually correct, or whether it was caused by a low rate of testing.

"The government pulled itself together too low when it comes to establishing a drive-in [testing compound] and with all that has to do with [coronavirus] tests for the Arab community," a senior source within the North's healthcare system told N12.

"It was necessary to map [the spread of coronavirus] from the very beginning of the outbreak and see what happens in the Arab localities, because at the end of the day, the disease does not see communities," he said. "The issue shows the unreadiness of the Health Ministry to such a scenario."

According to data published by the Health Ministry on Wednesday, the largest number of Arab coronavirus patients is in east Jerusalem.

"We in the Joint List demanded the testing compound a long time ago," Balad head Dr. Mtanes Shihdeh said last week. "We demand that the emergency medical centers in the Arab towns will be authorized to test for coronavirus," instead of just Magen David Adom (MDA).

According to MK Shihadeh, "MDA are not present in all Arab localities."

A recent survey conducted by Physicians for Human Rights found that only 40% of Arab Israelis were exposed to state guidelines regarding self-isolation and general protection from coronavirus, compared to 92% of Jewish Israelis.