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Health Ministry reports ‘difficulties’ in doing genome sequencing at schools with Indian strain

The Health Ministry says it has “encountered difficulties in cooperating” with the Education Ministry to carry out genome sequencing at schools where five cases of the Indian coronavirus variant were discovered.

Two of the schools are in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and the others are in Ashdod, Holon and Pardes Hanna.

Sharon Alroy-Preis, the ministry’s director of public health, notes in a letter to the director-general of the Education Ministry that at all of these schools except the one in Holon recently experienced coronavirus outbreaks.

“Even if it is not currently known about confirmed [cases] at the schools, the combination of the presence of a variant that may be dangerous, the fact that there were recently outbreaks and the knowledge from the pandemic that children are asymptomatic in 70 percent of cases, requires quick sequencing to be carried out widely at the aforementioned schools, to ensure there is no morbidity,” she writes.

She also says the “the situation is particularly” concerning because kids aren’t vaccinated and spend extensive time together in a closed space.

“If we can’t sequence as required we will need to consider closing the school or part of it,” Alroy-Preis warns.

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