Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tested for coronavirus? Leave your phone on during Shabbat

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, on Wednesday published a halakhic ruling stating that people who are in isolation due to coronavirus should leave their cellular devices during the Sabbath in order to be informed by medical staff on how to act based on test results.

"There is no doubt that anyone who was tested for coronavirus should leave a cell phone available on Shabbat, so he can be updated on his condition and where he needs to be evacuated. Even those who have not been tested should make their cellphone available, so that if they are found to have been around a verified patient and need to stay in isolation, they can be notified as soon as possible,” he said.

Rabbi Yosef further said, 
"An array of vehicles with a public address system must be established in order to announce during Shabbat, in religious and haredi areas, regarding the obligation of isolation, according to the areas that will become apparent during the Sabbath must be in isolation."
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In another dramatic part of the ruling, 

Rabbi Yosef ordered immediate closure of hospital synagogues due to concern for the safety of worshipers with a weak immune system and the inability to comply with the Ministry of Health's safety precautions that prevent more than 10 people from staying in a synagogue at a distance of 2 meters apart.

The halakhic ruling was given in response to the halakhic questions that have arisen in an emergency the likes of which Israel has not known in the past.

The information division for the fight against the coronavirus in the haredi sector said, 
“The halakhic rulings of the outstanding rabbis of our generation speak for themselves and teach about the time of emergency that requires accelerated activity before a disaster occurs. We are working diligently to integrate all the actions required to deliver the messages to the haredi public on Shabbat if necessary. We reiterate the commitment and urgency to obey all the instructions of the Ministry of Health to fight the virus."

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