“This is an emergency situation,” Prof. Nachman Ash, the country’s coronavirus commissioner told the leaders of Tamra, an Arab city in the North District of Israel on Saturday.
He visited the town, which has seen a strong spike in infection in recent weeks and expressed concern about the situation. He asked for full cooperation from the local authorities, the Police, the Home Front Command and the health funds to help stop the spread of the disease.
“There are a lot of sick people,” Ash told the leaders, warning them that now is not the time for weddings or other gatherings.
It was the third visit to an Arab municipality in the last day, as infection across the country - and especially among the Arab sector - continues to rise.
There were 1,865 people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on Thursday, the Health Ministry reported Friday. Some 322 people were in serious condition, including 101 who were intubated. The death toll stood at 2,969.
There were 33 red cities, including Tamra, and another 42 that were orange.
Earlier in the day, Ash visited Daliat el-Carmel, also a red city, which is currently under lockdown. He said that the rate of infection has started to decline there, but that too many rules were being broken.
“We want to make sure that people who are supposed to be in isolation, stay in isolation,” the commissioner said. “There are sick people walking around the town and this is really problematic.
“You need to operate in the spirit of, ‘this is a war’ - and attack the problem,” he continued. “I am worried.”
Ash also visited two hospitals in East Jerusalem on Friday and heard about the way they're managing the pandemic and treating their coronavirus patients.
“It's not an easy job, they face a great challenge, but manage to maintain high standards like the rest of the hospitals in the country," Ash said after his visit.
East Jerusalem has seen a particularly large number of cases, spawned partially by visits between residents of the area and the Palestinian territories.
The government has made efforts to stop travel of Arab Israelis between Israel and the West Bank for Arab. Moreover, last week, the Defense Ministry decided to start imposing mandatory coronavirus tests at border crossings for work permit holders entering Israel from the West Bank.