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Israel drops outdoor COVID mask order

  • Israel drops outdoor COVID mask order
    With about 81% of citizens or residents over 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel - having received both doses, contagions and hospitalisations are down sharply. Israel drops outdoor COVID mask order
  • En Israel salen a la calle sin mascarillas en la primera “victoria” contra el coronavirus
    Desde diciembre, el 53% de la población recibió las dos dosis de la vacuna contra el coronavirus. En los últimos días, el país solo ha registrado unos 200 casos diarios de COVID-19. En Israel salen a la calle sin mascarillas en la primera “victoria” contra el coronavirus
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With about 81% of citizens or residents over 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel - having received both doses, contagions and hospitalisations are down sharply.

 

Israelis went about barefaced on Sunday after the order to wear masks outdoors was rescinded in another step towards relative normality thanks to the country’s mass-vaccination against COVID-19.

With about 81% of citizens or residents over 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel - having received both doses, contagions and hospitalisations are down sharply.

But entry by foreigners is still limited and non-immune Israelis who return from abroad must self-isolate, due to concern virus variants could challenge the vaccine. read more The Health Ministry said it had detected seven cases of a new Indian variant in Israel, whose potency was being assessed.

"We are leading the world right now when it comes to emerging from the coronavirus," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. "(But) we have still not finished with the coronavirus. It can return."

The police-enforced wearing of protective masks outdoors, ordered a year ago for non-exercise activities, was scrapped. But the Health Ministry said the requirement still applied for indoor public spaces and urged citizens to keep masks to hand.

"Breathing Freely," read the cover headline of the mass-circulation daily Israel Hayom.

"Being without a mask for the first time in a long time feels weird. But it's a very good weird," Amitai Hallgarten, 19, said while sunning himself at a park. "If I need to be masked indoors to finish with this - I'll do everything I can."

With Israeli kindergarteners, elementary and high school students already back in class, middle school pupils who had been kept at home or attended class sporadically returned to pre-pandemic schedules.