Israel is leading the world in new daily COVID-19 cases per capita, data showed Thursday.
Speaking to Channel 12 news, a top health expert advising the government cited figures from Our World in Data showing 0.6 percent of the population was testing positive per day.
The numbers comparing each country’s seven-day running average put Israel at the top, Prof. Eran Segal of The Weizmann Institute said.
But Segal noted it was likely that Israel was not truly the country with the highest infection rate. Rather, he attributed the figures to Israel being a leading country in the number of tests performed each day, relative to its population size.
Israel is followed in the highest daily cases worldwide ranking by Mongolia, Peru, Canada and Georgia.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Thursday that mandatory quarantine for schoolchildren who were exposed to coronavirus carriers would be scrapped entirely.
According to the plan, starting next Thursday, children up to the age of 18 will no longer need to isolate after being exposed.
Instead, all students — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — will need to conduct two antigen tests a week — on Sundays and Wednesdays — and present negative results when entering educational institutions.
Children who test positive for COVID-19 will still need to isolate until testing negative.
The testing will be done at home, with Bennett announcing “millions” of test kits are to be given out to parents.
The move comes as some 146,000 school-age children were in quarantine due to infection, and a further 142,000 due to exposure, according to Health Ministry data published Wednesday.
“Wherever we can make it easier for the public, we will. We are taking Omicron seriously, but also looking at the bigger picture,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said.
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said it was “a brave decision,” adding that “it would have been easier to close the education system, but our duty is to save every boy and girl” from the damage of repeated quarantines.
Only approximately 24 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and just 13.6% have received two doses, ministry data on Thursday showed.