Health Official: No Masks Required Outdoors From Next Week

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man wears a facemask in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Pries, head of public health in the Health Ministry, said on Tuesday that starting next week, Israelis will not be required to wear face masks outdoors, except at public gatherings.

“However,” she said, “closed spaces are still a great risk, and masks will have to remain there.

“Masks will have to stay in our bags at all times since it is still mandatory to wear them indoors,” Alroy-Preis added. “We do not know if someone next to us is infected or not, vaccinated or not, and closed spaces still pose a high risk. Therefore, masks will have to stay with us,” she said.

Restrictions imposed for Israel’s third lockdown that began in December have almost all been lifted, but thanks to the country’s high-paced vaccination campaign, the infection rate has kept falling.

“For over two weeks, 95% of Israel has been ‘green’; this is a tremendous achievement,” Alroy-Preis said. “Our goal is to open the economy as quickly as possible, return to normalcy – but still be cautious. The virus is still here,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday morning that 217 new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed the previous day.

Israel’s death toll since the start of the pandemic stands at 6,304.

Out of 3,369 active patients, 240 are hospitalized in serious condition, including 121 who are connected to ventilators.