The head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis maintained on Monday that preschools are unlikely to open Sunday, claiming the infection rate will still be too high to safely reopen.
Speaking at a briefing, Alroy-Preis said that “we will open the first stage, which includes the preschools, when we meet the morbidity indices. We have not yet met them.”
The criteria set by the ministry for rolling out phase 1 of the country’s exit strategy, which will be debated on Tuesday at the coronavirus cabinet meeting, is 2,000 or fewer new daily patients per day and a reproduction (R) rate of 0.8 or less.
Her statements contradicted remarks made earlier in the day by both Prof. Ronni Gamzu and Prof. Itamar Grotto, both whom said that they believed schools would open on Sunday.
N12 reported that “at the exact same time” that Alroy-Preis was making her statement that preschools would not open, Director-General Chezy Levy was telling the station that he believes they will.
"We believe we can open preschools on Sunday," Levy told Channel 12.
Alroy-Preis said that today about 30% of the country is still living in red zones.
At the same time, she rolled out several changes to the way the ministry will handle coronavirus from today onwards, including that the ministry will run tests on all preschool teachers before classes begin, which will also apply to school teachers when older grades resume.
“That way, we can open up more safely,” she said.
She noted that there would be a change in recovery time: Patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus will be able to consider themselves free of the virus after 10 days, as long as the last three days are symptom free. Then, they can be tested and leave their homes.
For patients who have been hospitalized, that number will be 20 days.
Moreover, she said that the country would start running serological (antibody) tests on people who have lived with or believe they have come in contact with a sick patient. If they are found to have developed immunity to the virus, then they will no longer need to enter isolation if they come in contact with a sick person.
Also, they will not have to enter isolation if they return to Israel from a red state.