24 hours before school year begins, Israel sets new daily COVID-19 infections record

August 31, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Just 24 hours before Israel is set to fully open its school system, the country set a record of new Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections documented in 24 hours with almost 11,000 new cases.

A nurse takes a swab at a Covid-19 rapid testing centre near the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Aug 19, 2021. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS

The Ministry of Health updated Tuesday morning that it recorded 10,949 in the past day, breaking the record of 10,118 daily cases recorded in January.

A climbing 7.65% of the tests done Monday returned positive.

A day before the start of the school year, about 91,000 students will not be able to go to school because they are in quarantine. A total of 55,390 students are in quarantine and another 35,500 are defined as active cases.

On Monday, 5,461 students were diagnosed as positive for Corona. The positive rate among students was 10%, higher than the nationwide average. In addition, 308 education staff members were diagnosed as positive for Corona and their positive rate is also higher than average and stands at 9.2%.

The full opening of the school system has sparked fear of an uptick in the infection rate.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held on Monday a discussion on preparations for the opening of the school year with Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and other officials.

The plan is to circumvent mass infections with the widespread use of rapid corona tests.

Non-vaccinated employees in the system will be required to show results of negative coronavirus tests twice a week.

Classes in grades 8-12 in Red cities with high infection rate in which the proportion of pupils who have received the first dose of the vaccine is lower than 70% will learn online.

However, school staff and parents report a sense of disarray and confusion.

In the meantime, the number of patients hospitalized in serious dropped slightly to 711, but the number of patients on life support rose to 172, the highest number in the fourth COVID-19 wave in the country.

Since the outbreak, 7,043 Israelis have died of COVID-19, 564 of them since the beginning of the month and nine in the past day.

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