New coronavirus headquarters in haredi red zones kicks off

The common goal, Prof. Ronni Gamzu stressed, is to lower infection. As of Sunday morning, 394 patients were in serious condition.

Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with haredi leaders on Friday, Aug. 7 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Prof. Ronni Gamzu meets with haredi leaders on Friday, Aug. 7
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A new special headquarters to help stop the spread of coronavirus in haredi (ultra-Orthodox) cities and towns launched Sunday morning under the authority of Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the country’s new coronavirus commissioner.
On Friday, Gamzu met with representatives from Jerusalem, Ashdod, Elad, Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Beit Shemesh and Beitar Illit, as well as top representatives of the Home Front Command, to discuss the establishment of the headquarters. The goal, he said, was to “prevent a closure by working together.”
The common goal, he stressed, is to lower infection. As such, although his “traffic light” program was approved by the government and he plans to start it in full on September 1, he said some immediate actions should be taken.
As part of the new program, a 24/7 headquarters will operate with representatives of the Israel Police, health funds and Home Front Command. In each city, the headquarters will be run by a director that reports to the mayor. 
The headquarters is charged with monitoring testings, conducting epidemiological investigations and deciding with the police if there is a need for closures. 
The authorities will also work to prevent gatherings and contact between sick people and their families, plus help to increase mask wearing. Coronavirus patients will be encouraged to isolate in a state-run coronavirus hotel; families who need support during a family member’s isolation will receive it through the headquarters. 
The one responsible for ensuring the success of the program is Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa, who was one of those originally tapped for Gamzu’s job. He currently runs the Central Command of the Israel Defense Force.
During his speech last Thursday, Gamzu said to the public: “Instead of closing from above, I want order – a partnership from below for all of us. This is my message; this is the message received in the cabinet from me.”
As of Sunday morning, there were 24,433 people with active cases of coronavirus – 763 new cases in the last day. On Shabbat, only 8,587 people were screened.
The number of serious patients was 395, including 118 who are intubated. Some 594 Israelis have died since the start of the pandemic.