Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Children in Mevaseret Zion return to school. May 17, 2020

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israelis could be facing another, second and possibly even more deadly second wave of the novel coronavirus.

In fact, he said, Israel must brace for it.

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“We must prepare for a second wave of the coronavirus, which is expected to be much more lethal,” Netanyahu said during the first meeting of Likud faction members in the Knesset this week.

“Our number of patients is marginal, a few at a time at the moment,” he said. “We are in good shape – but we need to understand that it might be temporary, because the virus is still here.” Netanyahu warned that “another global wave of the coronavirus” was likely.

Just this week, six teachers in Yavne were quarantined until Monday, after a staff member at school was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Thirty children at a school in Jerusalem were sent home and their families asked to quarantine them after a school staff member was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Last week, the head of the immunotherapy laboratory at Bar Ilan University, Cyrille Cohen, told The Jerusalem Post, “The numbers are very low, but the numbers were very low when we started this pandemic.”

Fifty-two students and the school staff at a school in Rehovot were sent into isolation on May 15 after a teacher at the Navon school in Rehovot was diagnosed with COVID-19. Within a few days two more classes were also quarantined after it was found that they, too, had been in contact with the teacher; all the teaching and administrative staff of the school later went into quarantine as well.

However, the story didn’t end there; subsequent testing at the Navon school revealed last week that seven more people were diagnosed with the virus – three teachers, two students and some of their family members tested positive as well.

Also last week, an assistant teacher in Tel Aviv at the Galil elementary school was diagnosed with COVID-19. The teacher in the classroom and seven children were sent into quarantine.

In Bnei Brak a teacher’s aide in a special education school was diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2; the children and staff members who were exposed to the aide were asked to self-quarantine at home.

Two preschools in Rishon Lezion were also closed after an assistant teacher was diagnosed with COVID-19; more than 20 children who were exposed to the virus also were all asked to self-quarantine at home.

Last Thursday, the Health Ministry reported a 3.1 percent spike in infection in Rehovot, a 5.9 percent hike in Ramle and a 3.1 percent spike in Rishon Lezion over the prior three-day period.

Despite all of the above, representatives of the public health services department at the Health Ministry are monitoring the infection rate among staff and students at the nation’s schools.

As before, the ministry has reiterated in a bulletin that when schools are fully operational, it is vital to adhere to its guidelines at all times:

  • Stay 2 meters from other people
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice strict personal hygiene.
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