Israel’s Preschools Unlikely to Reopen Amid Coronavirus

It is expected that some members of the Blue and White may find themselves at odds with the Health Ministry when they hold their coronavirus cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Where the ministry is adamant about not reopening schools until there are only 2,000 new daily patients, party members are seeking to resume some activities. The latter wants to reopen a couple of businesses and preschools in this week alone. 

Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of Public Health, stated on Sunday that in her opinion, no schools will be allowed to reopen. She reported that the Health Ministry is closely monitoring the reproduction rate of the virus in the country, also known as its R. As of now, the R is not under one while the coronavirus exit strategy devised by the ministry states that it should be at 0.8. This will help the ministry conclude that one coronavirus patient will infect less than one person in a day. Thus, resulting in 2,000 or fewer patients in a day. 

The head of Public Health also added that despite the fact that the numbers of patients tested on Sunday were less than 13,000, it would still be a risk to resume operations. She stated that health experts maintain that Israel needs to have less than 2,000 patients per day, as compared to the 3,000 people who are contracting the virus every day. 

Sharon went on to say that reopening businesses and schools right now would mean going against the targeted rate of infection they had initially set for the exit strategy. She expressed hopes to reach a rational decision by the end of the cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Moreover, the Public Health head also urged party members to make decisions based on data and not dates. 

The concerned member of the Health Ministry added that she is a mother of two children. One of them is in the first grade, while the other is studying in the third grade. According to her, she wants to send them to school but, does not want to put their health at risk. 

The briefing she convened took place on Sunday, solely so that Sharon could review the exit strategy devised by the ministry. It has nine stages and may take at least four months to be put into effect. Furthermore, each stage requires two weeks to be evaluated so that its impact on the rate of infection can be measured. 

Giving good news to the public, the head of Public Health said that the data recorded today was encouraging. However, she pointed out that it was just the weekend and urged people to continue being careful. The briefing started with her saying that the Health Ministry still does not believe that they have successfully reached their goal. 

On Sunday, the number of coronavirus patients that the Health Ministry reported was only 887. Out of the 13,387 patients screened, only 6.6% tested positive for the virus. 825 patients on Sunday were in serious condition, whereas 214 were intubated. The death toll stands at 1,941.