Conflicting Virus Trends Leave Israeli Government Flummoxed
Israel’s coronavirus R0 number, or the basic reproduction figure, on Monday passed the 1 threshold, meaning the deadly virus is once again spreading in increasing numbers throughout the Jewish state. At the same time, the rate of tests returning positive results and the number of patients hospitalized in serious condition continued their decline, putting the country’s government in a bind as to how to proceed with the nation’s gradual reopening. Health officials have called on Jerusalem’s Cabinet to postpone the return to action of Israel’s junior high schools, which are scheduled to reopen in person early next week. The health ministry has also requested to scratch the complete reopening of Israel’s international airport. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, called a surprise presser Sunday night where he announced all schools would be reopened this week, and would stay open till the end of July, a full month after the end of the traditional school year. His declaration was met with surprise by education and treasury officials, who said the scheme was not agreed on by the government and did not have the required funding.