One of the few coronavirus restrictions that are still in place in Israel is that of wearing masks indoors and this mandate will officially be lifted on Saturday at 8 p.m. The masking requirement had been flouted rather widely off late. Fortunately, there has been a decline in morbidity in Israel and this pushed Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to decide to lift the indoor mask requirement altogether. Before this, the mandate had been scheduled to be lifted on 1st May. A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office disclosed that masks will still be required in some places.
They referred to these locations as those with ‘high contagion’ potential, such as senior living facilities and hospitals. Masks will also be required during air travel. The Prime Minister tweeted that Israelis would be able to enjoy their Jewish Moroccan celebration of Mimouna without masks this year, which comes after Passover. Celebrations include travel from home as well as large gatherings, which is expected on Saturday evening nationwide. The masking requirement will be lifted by then, so people will not have to wear them.
Bennett himself is scheduled to attend a similar event later on Saturday in a moshav called Shilat, which is near Modiin. The rule for masking had first been imposed in Israel in April 2020. Since then, Israelis have been required to wear face masks indoors with the exception of 10 days in June last year, when the government had lifted the mandate briefly. However, it had turned out to be a mistake because cases had surged in the country after that, so it was imposed once more. The announcement of lifting the mandate was made on Wednesday by Bennett’s Office. This occurred after a federal masking mandate on public transport had been turned down by a judge in the US.
Subsequently, a number of government agencies and companies had announced that they would not enforce the masking requirement. As far as Israel is concerned, the government’s decision to lift the mask mandate comes because the country has been tracking a decline in morbidity continuously. This is applicable not just to newly diagnosed cases, but also to serious ones. Likewise, there has also been a decline in the number of COVID-19-related deaths with each passing week. According to the statistics provided on Thursday by the Health Ministry, the total number of active coronavirus cases in Israel was 32,942.
Patients in hospitals because of serious conditions are around 221. The death toll in Israel has climbed to 10,658 since the beginning of the pandemic and a dozen people died due to the coronavirus in the last week. Even though the ‘R’ number, or the transmission rate, has been declining continuously, there was a slight uptick in recent days. However, it should be noted that the number has remained under 1, which is good news because this shows that the virus is under control. Only when it is higher than 1 does it show that the disease is spreading.