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10,000 Israelis Quarantined Over Fears of New COVID-19 Wave

10,000 Israelis Quarantined Over Fears of New COVID-19 Wave

Wednesday, 3 June, 2020 - 05:30
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wears a mask as he looks on during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tested for the COVID-19 disease on Tuesday after an employee at his office was infected with the coronavirus.

Medical sources confirmed that if the PM develops symptoms, then he would go into a two-week self-isolation.

Netanyahu has previously self-isolated after two separate COVID-19 scares -- first in March after coming into contact with an infected aide, and later in April after his then-health minister was diagnosed with the virus.

In light of the recent spike in infections in dozens of schools and kindergartens across Israel, the Education Ministry announced Tuesday that 3,723 students and teachers were sent to quarantine, bringing the total number of self-isolating pupils and instructors to almost 10,000.

The decision came after the detection of 11 new coronavirus cases in the country’s educational institutions.

A total of 13 institutions temporarily shut down on Tuesday, bringing the total number of closed educational institutions to 217.

Over the past week, 217 persons in schools and kindergartens have been confirmed to have been infected.

On Monday, Ran Erez, chairman of the Secondary School Teachers Association, demanded the closure of schools across the country.

However, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Education Minister Yoav Gallant said that only schools with three or more students diagnosed with the virus should be shut down.

In mid-May, the Prime Minister decided that the educational system would return to full operation in most areas in the country, after remaining shut for around two months.

On Tuesday, 72 new patients were diagnosed with the virus, down from 98 new cases a day earlier.

A survey conducted by the Health Ministry said at least 200,000 Israelis have been exposed to the virus, close to 12 times the number of confirmed cases.

The government announced its intention to conduct serological testing in areas that were hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Health Ministry reported that 6,664 tests were carried out on Tuesday.

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