75% of Jerusalem Coronavirus Cases Are Haredi, Arab Hospitals on Verge of Collapse

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon warned on Tuesday that the Palestinian hospitals in the eastern side of the city are on the verge of collapse, and accused the Health Ministry of ignoring their needs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Leon wrote: “I would like to warn you regarding the serious shortage of medical equipment at the hospitals in East Jerusalem, particularly protective equipment and equipment to conduct coronavirus testing. This is despite repeated promises on the part of your [ministry].”

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The health care system in Jerusalem as a whole could collapse “in light of the inability of the hospitals in the east of the city to sustain the concerted efforts by all hospitals during this period,” Leon warned.

Of the six Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, only two, Makassed and Saint Joseph Hospital, have established special coronavirus units. Over the past two weeks, Mayor Leon has met regularly with the directors of the hospitals to elaborate a coronavirus response. The Jerusalem city hall has estimated the cost of meeting their needs at 9 million shekels ($2.5 million). Leon said that the hospitals had considerable financial problems before the coronavirus pandemic hit “and now have to make major and immediate expenditures to prepare for treating coronavirus patients.”