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145,000 schoolkids in quarantine as transmission rate drops to 4-month low

41,816 kids infected with COVID-19; R-value falls to 0.83, signaling outbreak slowing

Children are tested for COVID-19 at a Clalit Medical Center in Katzrin, September 6, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Children are tested for COVID-19 at a Clalit Medical Center in Katzrin, September 6, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Nearly 145,000 Israeli schoolkids on Thursday were unable to attend classes due to coronavirus self-isolation requirements.

According to data released by the Health Ministry, 102,638 schoolkids were quarantining on Thursday after having come in contact with a confirmed COVID case or returning from abroad from a destination that requires self-isolation.

Another 41,816 kids were infected with COVID-19, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the R-value, the reproduction rate of the virus measuring the average number of people each positive person infects, dropped to 0.83, the lowest recorded number since May.

Any number over 1 indicates infections are rising, while a figure below that signals that an outbreak is abating.

The last time the Health Ministry reported a basic reproduction number below 1, before it dropped to 0.95 on Wednesday, was in early June, before new daily cases began to surge.

Over Wednesday, 3,247 new cases were identified, ministry data showed. Another 1,818 were detected by Thursday morning.

Of the 62,371 tests conducted on Wednesday, 5.44% were positive, a sharp drop from Tuesday’s 7.22% rate.

A sign asking worshipers to wear facemasks is seen at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on September 4, 2021, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash9)

The number of active cases stood at 84,505, of whom 680 were in serious condition. The death toll was at 7,279, after some 66 patients died due to COVID complications over the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Nearly half of the 194 Israelis who died of the coronavirus over the past week — since the beginning of September — were unvaccinated. Ministry data showed that 94 of them were completely unvaccinated, 75 were vaccinated but did not receive a booster shot, and 25 had been given a third dose.

By Thursday morning, 2,690,387 Israelis — nearly 29% of the total population — had received a third, or booster, dose. Among those age 60 and over, that number jumps to some 71%.

Most COVID-related deaths have been among the elderly population, with unvaccinated individuals being a significant portion, taking into account that only 8% of those age 60 and over remain completely inoculated.

More than six million people — 65% of the entire population — have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Last year, Israelis celebrated Rosh Hashanah under lockdown, but the current government has resisted reimposing sweeping restrictions to contain the latest wave, instead relying on vaccinations and more limited curbs on gatherings.

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