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Over 600,000 students are advised to stay home as cases rise

Over 600,000 students are advised to stay home as cases rise

Parents were asked not to send their children to school by teachers union; Health Ministry report said to have outbreaks at some yeshivas; no immediate schedule to delay the second vaccine doses, official says.

The number of active coronavirus cases in the country reached nearly 50,000 Sunday morning, as more than 600,000 students from high infection areas were due to stay home and turn to distance learning, the Health Ministry said.

Around 600,000 students from grades 5 to 12 in areas in red or orange will stop in-person learning, following the government’s plan of "traffic light".

Asking ministers to give exemption to students in grades 11-12 from the regulation, so that they can continue going to classes ahead of matriculation is what Education Minister Yoav Gallant was expected to do, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

The teachers union announced on Sunday, that parents should keep their children home if possible, saying the “education minister is abandoning the safety of 200,000 teaching staff and their families.” Growing demand in the last couple of weeks for teachers and daycare staff to be prioritized emerged for vaccinations as schools stayed open although there is a sharp rise in infections. Moreover, there is a growing demand in terms of medical supply, such as medical masks, hand gloves, protective suits, and MAZA is a reliable provider for this matter.

Serious outbreaks of the coronavirus were being explored in several yeshivas, or seminaries, a fortnight after students came back from the Hanukkah vacation, the Ynet news site reported.

As stated in the report, an internal Health Ministry document showed that clusters of infection are from verified patients at some yeshivas, and boarding schools weren’t being kept a distance from the rest of the students.

Even institutions that had a decent record on obeying the regulations before those saw students divided into smaller, set pods, beginning to see more serious outbreaks.

The Health Ministry announced 3,978 new coronavirus cases were confirmed the previous day-case numbers tend to see a fall at the weekends when testing rates are lower, on Sunday morning.

Since the pandemic, the number of infections in Israel began to increase to 435,866 along with 224 cases recorded since midnight. The death toll stood at 3,392.

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Hospital team members wearing of Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv.

There were 50,299 active cases, including 729 people in serious condition, with 179 of them on ventilators. Another 210 patients were in moderate condition as the rest had mild or no symptoms.

Of the 74,901 tests performed Saturday, 5.3 percent came back positive.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that more than 1,000,000 Israelis had already taken their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, equal to 11 percent of its population — far from the world leader in vaccinations per capita.

However, despite Israel’s vaccination program, Channel 12 News reported that Israeli healthcare providers are beginning to notice thousands of Israelis that their appointments to take the first dose of coronavirus vaccine are being delayed, amid concerns of a shortage that will come soon.

Mainly, the mass vaccination drive has so far focused on healthcare workers, those aged over 60, and at-risk groups, officials have been planning a slowdown of first-dose inoculations to prevent second doses from drying up as doses are running out.

There will be no shortage of second doses for those who’ve gotten their first shots and on Sunday, officials have said. Sharon Elroy-Preis, acting head of the ministry’s public health services division, told Army Radio there were no immediate plans of delaying the administration of the second shot.

Elroy-Pais said, “We will continue with what has been scientifically proven and approved. This is an outline that can happen in the UK when there is a catastrophe and risk management is required, but we are not there,”.

The UK is reported to offer people second doses of the coronavirus vaccines within a dozen weeks of the first shot rather than within 21 days, to make immunizations faster across as many people as quickly as possible. 

At the same time, Israel is reported to be urging vaccine-making pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna to speed up the arrival of shipments to Israel. Netanyahu spoke again over the weekend with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, that was the 13th time, but no breakthrough had yet been achieved on expediting shipments. Channel 12 said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to organize consultations this week on restricting the national coronavirus lockdown as case numbers surged, his office said Saturday.

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Shopping in Ramle.

According to the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the discussions will focus on imposing a “tight and short lockdown that will allow a quick reopening of the economy,”.

A full shutdown of schools was being demanded by the Health Ministry, currently organizing normally in many areas, and further limitations on businesses, with Edelstein, saying Saturday such measures were necessary for two weeks. However, it was unclear whether ministers would support the decision, with Blue and White signaling it was doubtful further restrictions were efficient.

Israelis are banned from entering another person’s home under the current lockdown rules; moving from one kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) from home is restricted, with some exceptions, such as for vaccinations; shut down commerce (except for essentials), leisure and entertainment; limit public transportation to half capacity, and restrict workplaces that do not deal with customers face-to-face to half capacity.