Delta variant blamed as schools reportedly see COVID cases triple

The number of coronavirus patients within the education system has tripled over the past week, Kan reports.

There are 164 students who have tested positive for COVID-19, and 16 staff, the station says.

Health authorities in Israel believe some 70 percent of the new COVID-19 cases are the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is more widespread than previously thought, Channel 12 news reports.

“There’s been a serious uptick in cases of the Indian variant in Israel,” a senior health official is quoted saying, using an outdated term for the mutation.

Experts say the vast majority of the new cases are being found in those aged 12-15, leading to an uptick in parents having their children vaccinated.

An Israeli child receives a COVID-19 vaccine, at Clalit Covid-19 vaccination center in Petah Tikva, on June 6, 2021. (Flash90)

Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton says that “we are closely following the figures. The ministry is providing acute services to places where outbreaks are being identified, including daycares and summer schools, and in preparation for the next school year.”

Figures published earlier today showed 48 new cases on Sunday and 57 new cases between midnight and 9 a.m. on Monday, a significant spike after the country managed to nearly eradicate the disease over the last two months.

Authorities have concentrated on those coming into Israel as a major factor, though official figures show that only 21 of 129 cases found since June 18 came from travelers.

“Once we lifted restrictions, it was clear that local outbreaks were just a matter of time,” Prof. Ron Balicer, who advises the government on coronavirus policy, tells Kan. “If we see spread from community to community in the next few days, we may need to look at more measures to halt the spread.”

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