Israel’s coronavirus rules changed again – here are the details, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein: “We must make every effort to open the maximum possible with the least risk for students.”
Israelis received a new set of coronavirus reliefs on Thursday from the government after more than a month of minimal changes.
Before Thursday, the last time the government approved regulations set forth by the coronavirus cabinet was on March 6.
Here are the new rules:
> Gathering – increased to 100 people in an open area; only 20 people are allowed to gather inside
> Spectators – at sporting or other events in large open spaces, the number of attendees increased to from 5,000 to 10,000 people, and in closed areas to 40% capacity and up to 4,000 people maximum
> Other events – increased occupancy from 500 to 750 at non-sitting events and / or without food; drinks are allowed to be served at these events
> Museums – increased occupancy to one person per seven square meters
> Terminal shuttle buses at the airport – increase capacity to 75%
There will be a meeting by April 17 to discuss the issue of increasing the transit capacity of people entering or leaving Israel through the country’s land crossings, such as Palestinian workers. These regulations are valid through April 22, 2021.
In addition, several new reliefs were handed to the country’s students and schools. These include:
> In 11th and 12th grade classes where 65% of students are vaccinated, capsules are no longer required
> Fourth graders no longer need to learn in capsules
> Middle schools (grades 7-10) that decide to take part in the “Defending Education” testing program can eliminate their capsule system. Even if they are not in the program, they can learn in up to four capsules (as opposed to the previous two)
> Students in grades 1-3 who are in afterschool programs can now mix with other classes – up to 28 kids
> College and university students will be able to take their exams in person
> Schools that follow the Health Ministry’s “green passport” program can hold social activities, including ceremonies
> The number of people who can learn in a beit midrash or take part in an educational gathering will be increased to between 1,000 and 3,000 depending on the size of the hall in which it is being held
> Swimming lessons can be reintegrated into the school program, even in indoor pools, so long as the pool is closed to the public whenever students are there
> Health declarations are no longer needed
The government also voted to re-rank the town of Lakiya so that it will no longer be considered gray and students could return to school.
These new educational regulations are valid through April 13.
THE ANNOUNCMENTS of these decisions were handed out on a day when Israel hit the lowest number of serious cases in four months at 280.
According to the Health Ministry, only 0.5% of people who were screened on Wednesday tested positive. Only 274 new cases were diagnosed.
Earlier in the day on Thursday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein stressed the importance of further opening the education system.
“We must make every effort to open the maximum possible with the least risk for students,” he said, reminding the public that other than students in grades 11 and 12, youth are not vaccinated.
Pfizer is working on getting approval of its vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration for use on adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16. If it succeeds, the Health Ministry has said they could begin vaccinating this constituency as early as May.