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Children to be tested before they return to school after Sukkot

CM 19/09/2021

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Before they return to school after the Sukkot holiday break, children in pre-school and grades 1-6 will need to undergo a coronavirus rapid test as they did ahead of the beginning of the school year, the coronavirus cabinet decided on Sunday, as Israel registered an increase in serious patients, whose number stood at 726 the highest number this month. Hospital heads warned of a lack of ECMO machines.
The decision will need to receive final approval from the Knesset Education Committee.
Currently, about 44,000 schoolchildren are infected with the virus, and 92,000 are in isolation after being exposed to a verified case. In the past week, the number of students in quarantine rose as high as 160,000.

Before September 1, at least 8,000 infected students have identified thanks to the required test, which helped to keep several tens of thousands in their classrooms.
However, the Teachers’ Union criticized the government’s decision, specifically opposing the requirement to send home the children who show up without a test.

Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash seen during a visit at the Jerusalem Municipality on November 22, 2020. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)Israel’s coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash seen during a visit at the Jerusalem Municipality on November 22, 2020. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

“What about students who will remain at school? Where will they stay? And what if the parents refuse to come?” asked the union head Yaffa Ben-David. “I oppose any attempt to turn teachers into corona inspectors, harm the reputation of the state in students’ eyes, and confront parents. If these regulations are approved the teachers’ union intends to appeal to the High Court.”
Earlier in the day, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash expressed concern over the number of serious patients in the country.
“I personally do not see that we are exiting from this wave, even the number of serious patients is high,” he said in an interview to Kan.
Since the beginning of September, the number of serious patients has remained stable, mostly between 650 and 700. However, the figure stood at 715 on Saturday and at 726 on Sunday.
During a meeting at the Health Ministry on Sunday, hospital heads warned of a lack of extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, Israeli media reported. Ash acknowledged that the current number of ECMO patients is approaching the peak of the third wave, adding that this is due to individuals who chose not to get vaccinated.
“Our situation is not good,” added Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Salman Zarqa according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv. “The morbidity figures are on the rise, they do not show any slowdown.”
“We are worried, as we told the prime minister this morning,” he added. “Our ability to encourage people to get vaccinated is starting to be limited.”
Some 7,445 new virus carriers were identified on Saturday, with 6.21% of the around 141,000 people screened resulting in positive.
In the past two weeks, the number of daily cases has varied greatly because of the effect of the holidays, with the number of tests performed ranging between 55,000 and 185,000 resulting in as little as 3,000 to over 10,000 virus carriers identified in a single day.
At the same time, the R rate dropped below 1 again on Sunday.
The R – or reproduction – rate represents how many people each virus carrier has infected on average and it only mirrors the situation of about 10 days before.
When the R stands above 1, the disease is considered to be spreading because every case generates more than one case. When it is below 1, it is a sign that the number of cases is decreasing.
Around ten days ago, the R dropped below 1 for the first time since the beginning of the fourth wave and continued to drop to 0.8, until it started to rise again and reached 1.14 at the end of last week. As of Sunday, it stood at 0.9.
Also on Sunday, Israeli media reported that police closed their investigation into the majority of individuals who were accused of forging PCR tests before they returned from Ukraine after participating in the traditional Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to Rabbi Nachman of Breslav’s gravesite.
It emerged that due to a malfunction of the system the tests appeared to have been falsified but were negative – as a second test taken in Israel confirmed.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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