Education Minister Downplays Covid “Hysteria”

YERUSHALAYIM -

Amid reports of hundreds of new covid cases and health officials calling for a return to wearing masks and other restrictions, the Education Minister took issue with the rising alarm.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said on Wednesday that “there are officials in the health ministry who are deliberately stirring hysteria, in order to push vaccines for children,” according to Channel 12 news quoting sources close to her.

“According to all the experts, we are in a different place” than during previous outbreaks, she was quoted as saying, and that there is no need to close schools yet.

Shasha-Biton, in her previous position as chairwoman of the Knesset’s coronavirus oversight committee, repeatedly challenged Health Ministry recommendations for closures, arguing that they were not justified by the data.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said it has found traces of the Delta variant in the wastewater of the city of Ashkelon. Residents were advised to get tested for Covid if they were having symptom, as the finding “raises concerns that city residents have been infected with the virus,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

The ministry’s lab for environmental virology has been surveying the city’s sewage as part of an early-detection program.

In Binyamina, which was the first city in month to be labeled “red,” there were 122 active COVID cases as of Thursday morning, with a 3% positive rate among those tested, compared to 0.3% for the rest of the country.

All the other cities are still “green,” indicating no significant level of infection, except for Modiin, which had 71 cases as of Thursday morning, which earned it a “yellow.”