Israel | News

Israeli COVID-19 deaths reach 300 as resurgence of virus follows reopening

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel reached 300 as a resurgence of COVID-19 followed the reopening of schools and many businesses.

In recent days, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has topped 100 after it had been tamped down to under 20.

Nearly 13,000 coronavirus tests were administered on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Education Ministry announced that 442 students, faculty and staff had been infected with the coronavirus since schools reopened three weeks ago. Since then, 144 schools and kindergartens were closed due to the virus and 24,000 students and staff have gone into quarantine due to exposure at school.

Late Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that plans to reopen more areas of the economy and the railways would be postponed due to the increase in infections. He also called for Israelis to respect social distancing rules, and announced that inspectors from municipalities and ministries would officially be able to enforce the wearing of masks in public.

Netanyahu in a nationally televised statement on curbing the virus on Thursday evening said that if the increases continue that the government will reinstate stricter restrictions. He also said that immediately increased restrictions will be placed on areas with high numbers of outbreaks. The statement came hours after the coronavirus cabinet met to discuss the new outbreak.