March 8 (UPI) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to deploy teenagers and the armed forces to disinfect public transit station in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country,
Netanyahu said the teens will work with the Israel Defense Forces to disinfect railway and bus stations citing that only one teenager in the country has tested positive for the coronavirus stating it is “not afflicting children or teenagers” although health officials say teenagers and children can still become infected and pass the virus to others.
“I will mobilize teenagers, both in schools and in youth movements, in a very meticulous way, to help with the disinfection. I will also ask the IDF to take care of certain installations,” he said.
Netanyahu added that he might extend a break for schoolchildren who are scheduled to remain away from the classroom until Thursday in observance of the Purim holiday.
Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Itamar Grotto said that children and teens can indeed catch and pass on the virus although the chance of death is not as high as among the elderly.
“Children and teenagers can catch the virus, it’s just the chances of their situations becoming severe are low,” Grotto said. “They won’t die, but they could be infected.”
As of Sunday, 28 Israelies have tested positive for the coronavirus and thousands have been ordered into isolation.
All travelers returning from Germany, Spain, France Switzerland and Austria are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon entering the country.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced Sunday that any non-Israeli citizens who have traveled to Egypt within the past two weeks will be barred from entering Israel.
The country is also considering expanding quarantine guidelines for travelers returning from additional countries including the United States.