Health MInistry data: 400% rise in number of children diagnosed with coronavirus

Number of children testing positive for coronavirus rises 400%, leading to concerns about reopening schools.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Child holds mask to protect against coronavirus (illustrative)
Child holds mask to protect against coronavirus (illustrative)

The number of children diagnosed with coronavirus has risen 400%, Kan News reported.

According to Health Ministry data presented Sunday to the Knesset's ministers, in December 1,526 children tested positive for coronavirus, while in the first week of February, the number of children testing positive rose to 6,000. The sudden and drastic rise is due to the British variant, which spreads faster and affects children more than the original coronavirus did.

Most of the children infected have light symptoms or are asymptomatic, but the Health MInistry is concerned that reopening the educational system in any way possible will increase both the infection coeffecient and the number of confirmed cases.

Currently, the plan for reopening educational frameworks currently focuses on childcare for children ages 0-3 years old. These frameworks would be the first to reopen around the country, although in "green" and "yellow" areas, preschools and kindergartens for ages 3-5, as well as grades 1-4 and 11-12, would also reopen.

Meanwhile, the mayors of Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam, and Holon - all "orange" cities - have expressed opposition to the plan which would have children learning outdoors, announced that if the government does not find a "logical plan," they will figure out a solution themselves.

The discussion on how to reopen the school system ended Sunday without reaching a conclusion. However, due to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hearing, the government discussion is unlikely to resume until late Monday evening, casting doubt on whether any frameworks will be able to reopen by Tuesday.

At Sunday's government meeting, coronavirus czar Professor Nachman Ash said, "We are in a situation which requires extreme caution in reopening. I am very worried that if we act irresponsibly, we will cause another wave of infections."

He added that Israel has not yet reached the end of the first stage, in which 80% of those over age 50 are vaccinated: currently, just 79% of those in that age group have received the vaccine, nor has the number of seriously ill patients dropped to below the Health Ministry's goal of 1,000.

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, who heads Israel's public health system, warned: "If we reopen the economy, there will be a lot of deaths, including among young people."

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said that the issue is mainly "with what they want to open."

"If we reopen the educational system at all, we need to know that there will be no option to reopen anything else in the coming two weeks," he warned.