Israel relaxes lockdown restrictions to partially reopen schools

Jerusalem, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of thousands of kindergarten and elementary school students returned to in-person learning for the first time in a month on Thursday as Israel continued easing its lockdown restrictions despite climbing daily coronavirus cases.

The partial school reopening only affects 20 percent of the students in Israel, while the remaining 80 percent (1.9 million), who are continuing online learning, will return to schools gradually in order to avoid a peak in Covid-19 infections.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the government was proceeding with reopening of schools gradually and cautiously to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Israeli cabinet has approved the health plan that includes the first phase of opening kindergartens and elementary schools in areas with low Covid-19 cases, or where 70 percent of the over-50s are vaccinated.

The second phase, starting on 23 February, will see students aged from 10 to 18 returning to classrooms in cities with low infection rates.

Israel’s educational system was closed since early January, when the third lockdown entered into force.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 709,000 infections have been recorded and more than 5,000 Israelis have died of Covid-19 complications.EFE-EPA


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