Three new COVID-19 fatalities in Israel over the weekend, bringing the national death toll to 297, is causing concern among health officials about the public’s seeming laxity regarding coronavirus regulations.
However, in an interview with Kan Radio on Sunday morning, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, said the spike in infections cannot be designated yet as a “second wave.”
His comments came in the wake of earlier contradictory statements by Public Health Services head Dr. Sigal Sadetsky, who told the same radio station that the “seeds we are planting are very dangerous.”
Sadetsky was referring to the quick rise in infections that officials have attributed to the reopening of the economy that began in May, following nearly two months of lockdowns.
The most concentrated outbreak has been in the schools, some 106 of which have shut down in the past several days—14 since Friday alone.
So far, hundreds of teachers and students have tested positive for COVID-19, and thousands more are in quarantine as a result.
The uptick in these figures spurred the Education Ministry to ban all upcoming graduation ceremonies in their traditional, full-grade form. Instead of filling large auditoriums, the ceremonies will be limited to individual classrooms, possibly with no parents in attendance.
More than 27,000 Israelis were tested for coronavirus on Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number of active cases to 2,836, with 23 on ventilators. So far, there have been 17,783 Israelis who contracted the virus since the pandemic reached Israel in February. The infection rate is approximately one percent.
All Knesset employees were notified on Thursday not to come to work until further notice, unless absolutely necessary, after Joint List Arab List Knesset member Sami Abou Shahadeh tested positive for the virus.
A number of beaches across the country were closed on Saturday morning, due to overcrowding.
Last week, the Tel Aviv municipality fined hundreds of businesses for violating COVID-19 regulations, including social distancing and the wearing of masks for employees and customers. Hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of fines were collected.