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Israel to Expand Virus Testing Amid Uptick in Cases


JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said officials will begin expanding coronavirus testing to asymptomatic people as dozens of new infections were confirmed following Israel’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions.

"We are able to conduct 15,000 tests per day and if you feel you are sick or were near someone who is sick, get tested," he said during a press conference Sunday.

Testing in Israel has largely been limited to those who display COVID-19 symptoms.

The ministry said on Monday morning that there were 35 new cases since the evening before, and more than 17,100 people have been infected with COVID-19. Some 14,800 have recovered from the disease and 33 are in serious condition.

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On Friday, Israel saw a jump of 115 new cases over a 24 hour period. Health officials attributed the uptick to complacency and the public not adhering stringently to safety and hygiene guidelines.

Thousands of students from schools in Jerusalem, Hadera, and Beersheba were sent into quarantine Monday after several their classmates and staff were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Israel began conducting antibody tests of foreign workers on Sunday and plans to expand testing throughout the country.

The antibody tests are key to finding out who already had the disease to better map how COVID-19 spread.

Israel has taken recent steps to rollback virus restrictions, including opening schools, gyms, houses of worship, malls, parks, restaurants, and other places.

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