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April 2, 2020 1:18 pm

Elderly to Be Evacuated From Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Town Hit Hard by Coronavirus

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Workers of the Jewish Burial Society wear protective gear just before carrying the body of a victim of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be buried in Jerusalem, April 2, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

The Israeli military will evacuate elderly residents en masse from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town with a disproportionately large outbreak of the coronavirus, the government said on Thursday.

Some 4,500 people aged 80 and above would be taken out of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, and placed in isolation in hostels requisitioned by the military.

The government statement gave no date for when the 75 million shekel ($20 million) plan would take effect.

Medical experts estimate that as many as 38% of Bnei Brak’s 200,000 residents are infected with coronavirus and that the town could soon account for as many as 30% of cases nationwide.

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This is due to Bnei Brak’s population density, which on Israeli officials say is almost 100 times higher than the national average. Many residents are poor and some have heeded rabbis who, distrusting the state, spurned anti-virus measures.

The elderly are especially prone to COVID-19, the potentially fatal disease caused by the coronavirus.

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