Israel: 17,071 Cases, 285 Deaths, Education Minister: Schools With Even 1 Virus Case Will Close

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Magen David Adom testing station

There are 17,071 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Israel as of Monday, an increase of 34 cases since Sunday night. The number of active cases is 1,994.

A total of 33 patients are in serious condition of whom 30 are ventilated. The death toll remains at 285.

As Israel continues to grapple with a continuing outbreak of virus infections in the country’s schools, with over 5,000 students and staff in isolation by the end of the school day on Monday, Education Minister Yoav Gallant announced that any school that discovers even one case of the coronavirus will be closed immediately.

Earlier on Monday, the health ministry stated that Israel’s Kupot Cholim (health funds) are responsible for testing quarantined students and teachers from schools with outbreaks of the virus.

Outgoing Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said that the spike in virus cases may be representative of a larger trend among Israeli society in general.

“This is a phenomenon that is beyond the Gymnasium [Jerusalem high school that is the epicenter of the outbreak] and may be beyond the schools in general,” he said. “And this what we’re worried about. It’s not an isolated incident.”

Former health ministry director Gabi Barabush criticized the full reopening of schools in Israel which resulted in the spike of new virus cases. “No other country opened schools the way we did, with 30 kids in classrooms,” he told Channel 12 News on Sunday.

However, Barabush doesn’t think that the current spike of new cases is a second wave but rather that the virus is still in Israel and Israelis will have to learn to live with it.

Four drive-through testing stations were reopened by Magen David Adom, including one at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem which focused on testing students and staff members of the Hebrew Gymnasium high school, as well as in the cities of Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva and Haifa.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)