Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israeli schoolchildren in full coronavirus gear, August 31, 2020.

The government ministers of Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinets voted Monday to allow children in grades five and six to return to their classrooms next Tuesday – that is, those who are living in “green” and “yellow” cities around the country.

One week from Tuesday, high school students in grades 11 and 12 will also be allowed to return to their classrooms as well.

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The news comes as the Coronavirus Cabinet approves the plan to move to the next stage in the country’s “exit plan” as Israel’s morbidity rates slowly continue to settle down, even if they have still not dropped to zero.

The Cabinet also voted Tuesday to allow strip malls (such as “BIG Shopping Center”) to open in “green” cities, but indoor malls are still closed.

The Cabinet also gave the go-ahead for plans to allow the “tourist islands” in the Dead Sea and Eilat to begin to accept visitors – as long as they present documentation of having passed a coronavirus test within 72 hours prior to arrival.

Local residents and area employees may present results of having passed a coronavirus test within one week of arrival or be tested on site free of charge in Eilat. Additional information will be made available by the Health Ministry within the next few days, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Although many restrictions appear to have been lifted, many also were not. Restrictions on red zones were continued, night curfews on orange cities remained, and fines were increased on those who violate the Health Ministry guidelines.

The Health Ministry reported that 620 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed on Sunday, with another 568 new cases diagnosed between midnight at 8 pm Monday. Of those, 320 patients were reported in very serious condition, including 128 patients who required ventilator support to survive. The COVID-19 death toll rose to 2,734 in Israel by Monday evening.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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