On Thursday, the data showed that Israel is now leading the world in the number of new coronavirus cases recorded daily per capita. Figures were cited by a top health expert who advises the government from Our World in Data, which indicates that 0.6% of the Israeli population were testing positive for COVID-19 every day. These numbers compared the running average of each country for seven days and showed that Israel was topping the list. This was disclosed by a member of the government’s coronavirus cabinet, Prof. Eran Segal, who works for The Weizmann Institute. However Segal noted that there was a possibility that Israel was not actually the country that has the highest rate of infection.
He said that this number was probably because of the number of tests that are performed on a daily basis, when compared to its population size. Mongolia, Peru, Canada and Georgia are the countries that follow Israel in terms of daily highest number of cases recorded globally. Meanwhile, an announcement by the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday saw the quarantine rules change for schoolchildren who are exposed to a COVID-19 carrier. The new plan dictates that children up to the age of 18 would no longer be asked to quarantine after exposure.
These new rules would be put into effect from next Thursday onwards. Instead, all students would be required to take two rapid antigen tests in a week. These would be taken on Wednesdays and Sundays and negative test results would have to be provided to be able to enter educational institutes. These rules are applicable for both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. As for students who test positive for the coronavirus would still have to be quarantined until they test negative. Bennett announced that these tests would be done at home and ‘millions’ of test kits would be handed out to parents.
This move comes after figures showed that around 146,000 schoolchildren in Israel were quarantined because of infection and another 142,000 were also in isolation, simply because they had been exposed to a carrier. Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister said that they would try to make it as easy as possible for the people. Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister added that this was a ‘brave decision’. She added that closing educational institutions would have been easier, but they had the responsibility of saving kids from the damage inflicted by quarantines.
Data on Thursday showed that 24% of the children between 5 and 11 years had gotten the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 13.6% of the kids had gotten both shots. Segal predicted that the new outbreak was likely to come to an end. He said that they were close to reaching the peak of the Omicron wave and said that one in ten Israelis would test positive for the virus, if tests were conducted. He said that infections would decline rapidly once they reach a peak. According to ministry data, the number of positive patients on Wednesday was about 65,000, with active infections reaching 400,000.