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Israel Hits New Low in COVID-19 Cases as Schools Reopen


JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel's Health Ministry reported just 23 new COVID-19 cases Sunday evening, further indicating that the outbreak is largely under control.

There have been more than 16,000 coronavirus infections since the outbreak began in Israel and the number of new cases has steadily declined since mid-April. As of Monday, there are just over 6,200 active cases and 9,700 recoveries. More than 230 people have died from the virus. 

The government recently approved the lifting of restrictions imposed to combat the outbreak. Israeli stores have begun opening their doors and people are now allowed to venture away from their homes for prayer and exercise.

Elementary school students grades first through third returned to school in most places on Sunday.

Daycares, preschools, and kindergartens are still shuttered but Education Minister Rafi Peretz told Israel's Channel 12 a decision about reopening these institutions is forthcoming.

Peretz said he hopes that all kindergartens and preschools will be open by next Sunday.

The government is expected to convene on Monday to discuss rolling back more restrictions. The Health Ministry and Finance Ministry have both drafted exit plans that will likely be presented at Monday's meeting, The Jerusalem Post reports.

The Health Ministry's plan calls for the reopening of malls and hotels with no common areas on May 17, but the Finance Ministry wants malls open on Tuesday.

By Sunday, people will be allowed to visit immediate family members and weddings and funerals of up to 19 people will be allowed, according to the Health Ministry plan.

By May 17, up to 50 people will be allowed to assemble, and cultural, sports, and recreational centers will be allowed to open.

The Health Ministry plan calls for restaurants to reopen on June 15, while the Finance Ministry plan sets the date to May 31.

The Health Ministry says the country will be closely monitored and if there is a new spike in cases, new restrictions could be implemented.


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