Israel’s Covid-19 infections resurgence elicits return of restrictions

Jerusalem, Aug 4 (EFE).- Israel’s meteoric vaccination campaign allowed the country to regain relative normality, but a rebound in Covid-19 infections, attributed to the Delta variant, has prompted authorities to reimpose restrictions, and a new lockdown is not off the table if cases continue to soar.

Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet on Tuesday night approved a series of measures to curb the upward trend in infections, which will come into force on Sunday, such as mandatory face masks at outdoor gatherings with more than 100 attendees and the reduction of in-office work down to 50% in the public sector.

“Avoid crowds, and get vaccinated now. Otherwise, there will be no choice but to impose more severe restrictions, including a lockdown,” warned Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who had previously refrained from publicly suggesting to lock the country down again.

Israel reimposed a face mask mandate for indoor spaces, only 10 days after lifting the measure, but it is rarely enforced and often unobserved in restaurants, supermarkets and public transport.

Some 1,600 municipal inspectors have been called up to ensure compliance with the obligation to wear face masks indoors.

The Delta variant is considered responsible for a spike in Covid-19 cases, with about 3,800 infections reported on a daily basis, and 230 patients currently in critical condition.

Israel’s vaccination rollout has been one of the fastest in the world, with now roughly 60% of its 9.3 million residents being fully vaccinated, while the government estimates about one million people have refused the jab.

Starting August 20 the Green Pass will come back into full effect, with which people who are vaccinated, have tested negative or recovered from the disease will be allowed into certain spaces barred to others. EFE


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