Israel to reopen schools even in coronavirus hotspots if majority of over 50s in those municipalities have been vaccinated, health officials said Tuesday.
Israel on Sunday lifted a series of restrictions on movement and trade after weeks of full lockdown, but the education system remained shuttered due to health officials' concerns the reopening will lead to a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
The coronavirus cabinet was to convene later Tuesday to vote on the Health Ministry plan for preschools, grades 1-4 and 11-12 and technical colleges to reopen in both low-infection areas and virus hotspots where at least 70% of over-50s are vaccinated.
Schools in "red" municipalities will remained closed, according to the outline.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein suggested that the vaccination rate of every municipality will be updated once a week.
In addition, a cross-ministerial panel will oversee the color-coding of each neighborhood and community in the country, which will aid officials in allowing future easing of restrictions in specified areas.
Earlier Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported that more than 700,000 Israelis have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, making Israel the first in infections among countries with a population of less than 10 million and the 27th in the world overall.
The country saw 7,761 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after 91,209 tests were conducted, indicating an 8.8% infection rate.
The national death toll from coronavirus has now reached 5,192 since the start of the pandemic.
There are currently 1,088 people hospitalized in serious condition in Israel, including 306 patients on ventilators.