Opinion / Israel’s Refusal to Test Its Arab Population for COVID-19 Is a Ticking Time-bomb

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Speaking on Channel 12 news on Sunday, the director general of Magen David Adom emergency medical services announced that there will be no more testing for the coronavirus in the Arab community if the criteria aren’t changed. This surprising statement only intensified our fears that the number of those infected in the Arab community is far higher than what has been reported until now, but there is no information because there are no tests.

There are 38 patients diagnosed in Arab communities (according to figures published on March 27). Arabs constitute 20 percent of Israel’s population, and in addition are an at-risk population, due to the high percentage of those suffering from chronic illnesses, and to the crowded living conditions and problematic socioeconomic situation.

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Therefore, according to a very rough calculation, there should be at least 800 Arabs now suffering from the coronavirus. And if there are six carriers for every diagnosed patient, we are talking about approximately 4,800 patients and carriers in Arab communities who are likely to infect others without being aware of it. At present the 38 patients comprise less than 1 percent of all those infected. That is a very low percentage, which contradicts the claims of the Health Ministry director general (on March 27) about Arab violations of home quarantine directives.

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