Teachers in Israel who are not vaccinated, or are recovered and refuse to get tested, will not be able to work starting from October 3, the Education Ministry announced on Thursday.
In addition to not being allowed on school premises, they also won’t be able to conduct long-distance learning and will not receive pay.
Earlier in the day, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said that unvaccinated individuals are straining
the Israeli hospital system.
Over the past few days, Israel has been suffering from a shortage of ECMO machines - special ventilators capable of replacing the work of both the lungs and the heart of a patient – mainly due to the lack of enough personnel to operate them.
“The shortage is mainly due to the lack of medical staff, especially in intensive care,” Ash told Israeli news site Ynet. “We are still finding a place for everyone, but if the numbers go up, we'll have to make tough decisions.
“Serious morbidity today is mainly found among the unvaccinated; they are burdening the hospitals,” he added.
As of Thursday morning, Israel had 723 serious patients, a number similar to that of previous days, with 253 of them considered in critical condition and almost 200 on ventilators.
According to reports in Israeli media, there are about 50 ECMO machines in the country, currently at capacity with over half of them being used by corona patients.
While over six million individuals have received at least one shot and some 3.12 million have already gotten a booster, there are still about 900,000 people eligible for a vaccine who have chosen not to take it.
Some 5,921 new cases were identified on Wednesday, with 5.6% of the 113,000 people screened returning a positive result.
The number of daily cases has varied greatly in the past two weeks because of the effect
of the holidays, with the number of tests performed ranging between 55,000 and 185,000. The result was as few as 3,000 to over 10,000 virus carriers identified in a single day.
“We need to consider limiting gatherings: the cabinet needs to sit down and discuss this,” Ash said. "I would cap large gatherings, including in soccer fields so that there would not be more than 400 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.”