August 5, 2021

Israel reinstates the obligation to wear masks in closed public places

Faced with a resurgence of the coronavirus in a country where more than half of the population has yet received two doses of the vaccine, Israel announced Friday, June 25, to reinstate the obligation to wear a mask in closed public places.

“Due to an increase in infections, the Ministry of Health announces that from noon today masks will be required in all places which are not in the open air, with the exception of the home”, said the ministry in a press release. Children under 7, disabled people and those practicing sport are exempt from the obligation to wear a mask indoors.

Israelis are further advised to wear a sanitary mask during large outdoor gatherings, “For example during the events linked to the Pride March which will take place this weekend”, added the ministry in reference to the demonstration organized in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, to which thousands of people are expected.

The country was one of the first in spring 2020 to impose the wearing of sanitary masks in public places. Since April 18, it is no longer compulsory outside.

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Over 100 new cases per day

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Wednesday that if more than 100 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded daily for a week, the wearing of masks would again be mandatory.

Since Monday, the health authorities have recorded more than 100 new patients with Covid-19 every day. On Thursday, 227 new patients were identified by health authorities, according to the latest figures available.

The Hebrew state announced Wednesday to postpone the reopening of its territory to tourists “Due to concerns about the possible spread of the Delta variant”.

At the height of the pandemic, in January, some 10,000 cases were recorded daily in Israel, before a vast vaccination campaign allowed a drop in contamination. More than five of the 9.3 million Israelis (55% of the population) have since received two doses of the vaccine. In total, more than 840,000 contaminations have been recorded since the start of the pandemic in Israel, which has caused 6,428 deaths.

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The World with AFP