Israel’s Health Ministry recorded 1,140 new coronavirus cases over Shabbos. There are currently 22,393 active cases, with 398 patients in serious condition, of whom 119 are ventilated. Ten more deaths were recorded, raising the death toll to 819.
Israel’s coronavirus czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu spoke about the controversial issue of Israelis traveling to Uman for Rosh Hashanah during an interview on Channel 12 News on Motzei Shabbos.
“Uman is not one of the Tishrei Chagim and is not a devar kodesh,” Gamzu said. “It’s a hillulah or party and it’s not necessary to do it. It can bring us closer to a lockdown. The whole government needs to be firm in order to earn the public’s trust and say to the chassidim – don’t travel during this time to Uman, it will endanger lives in Israel. I’m announcing – there are no flights to Uman – period.”
According to a Ynet report, Gamzu also sent a letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urging him to ban gatherings at Rav Nachman’s kever on Rosh Hashanah.
“A gathering of this sort, at such a fraught time can lead to a mass infection of tourists and local Ukrainian residents, causing a heavy burden on local medical systems, while thousands more are expected to come back to Israel and further spread the virus,” Gamzu wrote.
“I urge you to enforce a ban on these celebrations this year, as part of the entire global community’s effort to stop this horrific pandemic.”
Meanwhile, a Ynet report on Thursday said that thousands of Israelis have already booked flights to Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah.
The report said that the Ukrainian government is planning on enforcing strict health regulations for anyone who does visit Uman for Rosh Hashana, such as wearing face masks and social distancing guidelines. Anyone who violates the regulations will be deported and banned from Ukraine for at least three years.
Gamzu also spoke in the interview about the possible lockdown before the Yamim Tovim. “It’s not definite that there will be a lockdown on the Chagim. I believe that it’s possible to decrease the infection rate – there are four weeks until then. I want to avoid a lockdown. It’s true that I presented a possibility of a lockdown but we all need to create the possibility together of preventing it.”
(The Yeshiva World).