Thousands of teachers and students in Israel are quarantining at home in an attempt to stem a coronavirus outbreak in schools, three weeks after its economy reopened.
Children had returned to schools after Israel’s new coronavirus infections hovered below 50 cases a day for several weeks,however,a few days later infections spike including more than 150 infections from a single school,Gymnasia Rehavia, in an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood and close to 100 daily infections.
“If we get 100 sick people in a day that are not connected to the same outbreak epicenter, we’ll need to step back, restrictions-wise,” Itamar Grotto, deputy head of the health ministry, told a parliamentary committee. “For now there is one outbreak center, we have a plan to contain it that does not involve the whole population.”
The government has responded by saying it will shut down any school with a single confirmed case,which is stricter compared to the earlier requirement of waiting until three cases were confirmed before a school would have to be closed, which had affected fewer than a dozen schools since the lockdown was lifted.
While Israelis are required to wear masks in public or in indoor situations where social distancing is not practical, the regulation is not being regularly enforced. Restaurants are offering outdoor seating and most offices and factories have reopened.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a new inspection protocol will have to be enforced to make sure businesses and schools were complying with social distancing requirements.Also an information campaign will be launched to encourage Israelis to adhere to the directives, including wearing masks in public areas and at workplaces, washing hands, and maintaining physical distance.