Health Ministry Director General Prof. Nachman Ash on Monday slammed the education minister's proposal to shorten quarantine for children as part of the outline for reopening of schools.
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton on Sunday presented a plan for the reopening of the education system on September 1. The outline apparently includes cutting down isolation time for students and teachers who were tested and found negative for COVID after exposure to a verified carrier from two weeks to just 48 hours.
During a press briefing on Monday afternoon, Ash said the outline was published by the Education Ministry before it was finalized and approved by the Health Ministry.
"We are in talks and are now formulating a new outline with the Education Ministry,” said Ash. “We do not agree to a quarantine of only 48 hours. A negative test and an immediate return to school will only serve to spread the pathogen and cause additional cases.”
Ash added, however, his ministry is working on a "pilot" for shorter quarantine for children, which will be accompanied by daily COVID testing.
Shasha-Biton, meanwhile, said that while there is controversy regarding the shorter quarantine, the Haredi school year, set to open on August 9, will operate according to the proposed outline.
During the briefing, Ash also addressed the rise in COVID cases around the country, and the increase in patients in serious condition, which on Monday reached 108.
"This increase is of course worrisome,” said Ash. “The coronavirus cabinet approved the return of the Green Pass in order to curb the increase in infections. We hope with the cooperation of the public, we will achieve our goal.”
Earlier on Monday, Ash admitted that the latest restrictions imposed by the government are insufficient and are not expected to halt the spread of the virus, but added that he hopes it might slow down the growing infection rate.
Ash also promised that his ministry would make a decision regarding the administration of a third jab in the coming weeks, but stressed that this was a "big decision."