Israel Reinstates Mask Mandate a Week After Scrapping It Amid Rising Cases

coronavirus
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Israel on Friday reinstated an indoor mask requirement only a week and a half after scrapping the mandate, as daily coronavirus cases in the country more than tripled in the space of a few days.

The Health Ministry said starting from noon, Israelis were required to wear masks in all indoor spaces. It also urged people to don masks when taking place in mass gatherings outdoors, such as the gay pride parade, scheduled to take place Friday in Tel Aviv.

Some 200 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Thursday, marking the highest rate in over two months.

Many of the new cases were from fully vaccinated individuals. More than 80 percent of Israel’s adult population has received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Around 70 percent of the latest infections were of the Delta variant. According to Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi, half of those infected were children and a third had been fully vaccinated.

A boy receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Clalit Healthcare Services in the Israeli city of Holon near Tel Aviv on June 21, 2021, as Israel begins coronavirus vaccination campaign for 12 to 15-year-olds. - Israel is now urging more 12- to 15-year-olds to be vaccinated, citing new outbreaks attributed to the more infectious Delta variant. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A boy receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Clalit Healthcare Services in the Israeli city of Holon near Tel Aviv as Israel begins coronavirus vaccination campaign for 12 to 15-year-olds. (JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reneged on lifting other coronavirus restrictions, such as self-quarantine mandates for vaccinated or recovered individuals who were in the proximity of a coronavirus carrier.

Entry into Israel for vaccinated tourists has been postponed until August.

More than 7,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered on Tuesday, the highest in over a month, following the decision to inoculate 12-15 year olds.

The country is also working to speed up the delivery of its next shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, not due until September.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Delta variant, first identified in India, could account for 90 percent of new Covid cases in the E.U. in the coming months.

“The Delta variant is more transmissible than other circulating variants and we estimate that by the end of August it will represent 90 percent” of cases in the EU,” the ECDC said according to AFP.

 

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