Dozens of children in several cities were sent into quarantine Thursday after diagnoses of coronavirus in their midst.
Some 50 children at a kindergarten in north Tel Aviv were sent into quarantine after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The children were sent home from the kindergarten complex on the city’s Yehuda Maccabi Street.
Hours later, however, the Health Ministry said the results of an additional test showed the original diagnosis was mistaken and the woman wasn’t in fact infected.
“The Tel Aviv district health office is updating the kindergarten staff and parents that it’s okay to resume normal activities,” a statement from the ministry said.
In the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, children and staff from a special education kindergarten were sent into quarantine after a teaching assistant was diagnosed with coronavirus, Army Radio reported. There were no details on the number of people isolated.
Bnei Brak was an epicenter of the virus outbreak leading to the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city being cordoned off for two weeks last month.
Another kindergarten was closed in the coastal city of Rishon Lezion after an assistant teacher was diagnosed with the virus. The kindergarten’s 20 children were sent into quarantine and the municipality made arrangements for them to all be tested.
In addition, 27 residents and three staff members at the Beit Hanna rehabilitation facility in Rehovot were isolated after a worker there was diagnosed, Hebrew media reported.
The incidents came in the wake of an easing in lockdown measures that saw schools and kindergartens fully reopened this week after two months of closure amid the coronavirus outbreak.
There had been concerns that as the lockdown is rolled back there could be a new wave of virus infections.
Recent weeks have seen a sharp drop-off in the number of new virus cases, with Israel lifting restrictions on movement.
However, health officials had reportedly warned against reopening preschools and kindergartens. The officials were said to be concerned that the return to school of so many small children who are unable to maintain social distancing and hygiene rules could cause a new outbreak of the coronavirus.
Under current rules, parents must sign off daily on a form that their children do not have a fever. Parents are not permitted to enter the premises of schools, preschools, or kindergartens. Instead they must drop off children at the entrance.
In Israel, where most parents work full-time, reopening the economy necessitated a solution for younger children who could not be left unsupervised. The Bank of Israel has said that the shutdown of the education system was costing the economy around NIS 2.6 billion ($737 million) per week, as many households had to keep one parent tending to children instead of working
As of Thursday, there have been 16,665 cases of coronavirus diagnosed in Israel, with 279 deaths. So far, 13,574 people have recovered, according to Health Ministry figures.