Tradition prevails in ultra-Orthodox communities during pandemic

By Pablo Duer

Jerusalem, Oct 12 (efe-epa).- Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 12 percent of Israel’s population and account for more than 40 percent of the country’s coronavirus cases.

As happened in the first wave, they are the main focus of infection and the pandemic has not managed to tame their religious fervor, which has once again taken precedence over government restrictions which have been largely ignored.

Israel has been gripped by a second wave of contagion and has been in lockdown for almost three weeks.

Ultra-Orthodox communities have maintained very high figures and continue to ignore government measures to curb infections.

After peaking at 15 percent, the proportion of positive cases to total testing in the country has dropped below eight percent.

Among the ultra-Orthodox this figure has remained at around 25 percent for weeks.

These communities comprise more than 60 percent of contagion epicenters in the country and 46 percent of detected infections, according to the Weizmann Institute.

One of the main reasons for the rapid spread of the virus in this community is its lifestyle, with religion as the main focus and characterized by a strong community component.

Prayers take place three times a day and require the presence of at least 10 men.

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