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Israel hands every child a DIY virus test, in bold bid for safe school restart

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In one of the world’s largest deployments of home COVID tests, Israel is asking families to screen all children under the age of 12 before schools and kindergartens reopen on Wednesday following summer vacation.

Over-12s who are unvaccinated are also being given tests, and some schools are also distributing the test kits to vaccinated pupils, as the Delta variant has broken through immunity on numerous occasions.

The initiative is an ambitious attempt to identify and isolate kids who are infected but don’t realize it before they head to classrooms and infect other children as well as staff. Infection from the Delta strain commonly goes unnoticed among youth, and the country is still deep in the throes of a wave of the highly infectious variant. More than 10,900 new cases of COVID were confirmed in Israel on Monday, marking a record one-day high since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Parents have picked up test kits from school and have been asked to swab their kids’ nostrils by Tuesday and check results on a module that looks similar to a home pregnancy test.

“This program has great potential to reduce the extent of infection arriving in classrooms,” Prof. Miri Yemini, an expert in health and the education system, told The Times of Israel. “The idea is to identify undercover or asymptomatic COVID by getting all children of all ages tested, and getting parents to sign a document saying that the result was negative.”

Children who are deemed COVID-free by the test are to pack their schoolbags and show up with their declaration, while those who test positive are expected to enter quarantine immediately.

Children with positive test results are supposed to register for a lab-processed PCR test to confirm the diagnosis. PCR tests are deemed more accurate, and in some very........

© The Times of Israel

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