Coronavirus czar Professor Salman Zarka on Thursday morning spoke with 103 FM Radio about the upcoming school year, which is expected to begin on schedule next week - as Israel sees around 10,000 new coronavirus cases daily.
"Our situation really isn't good, unfortunately," Zarka said, adding, "I have no news for the people of Israel this morning. Coronavirus infects many people. The virus doesn't circulate in the air - it's passed through people who don't keep a distance, don't necessarily wear masks, don't listen to the Green Pass, and don't vaccinate. Alongside the lack of optimism, the number of severely ill patients is not dropping, but it is stabilizing thanks to the third vaccine."
Zarka explained that, "in order for us to live alongside the virus, we have the vaccines. I am optimistic when I see that over 1.7 million people vaccinated with the third dose, that's definitely encouraging. This shows that people understand the significance. It doesn't stop the infections - in order to stop the infections, we need to tighten restrictions. [We need] to reduce the large gatherings, events, and weddings, with all the pain that it will cause, the damage to culture, or reducing meetings."
"This is the call of the hour, at least for the next two weeks, until the eve of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). We need everyone in order to start the school year, celebrate, and live alongside coronavirus."
When asked about the antigen tests parents are expected to use to test their children before the start of each day of school, Prof. Zarka said, "A year and a half of experience has shown that when we gather together again and also go to school, there is a greater chance of infecting each other. Therefore, the tools to prevent this are masks and physical distancing, as well as the vaccines. If 1.6 million students now undergo testing and we can find the students who are carrying the virus, and they stay home, they have helped the plague not circulate in the schools."