With half of its population vaccinated against Covid-19, Israel lifts the obligation to wear a mask outdoors

Contrary to the majority of countries, which are facing a third wave of Covid-19 contaminations, Israel lifted, on Sunday April 18, the obligation to wear a mask outside and fully reopened the schools. This last step towards a return to a relatively normal life was made possible by the vaccination of more than half of the population of the country.

For the past year – and as in many countries around the world – Israelis have been walking the streets with their faces barred with a sanitary mask. In January, Israel experienced a peak of 10,000 cases per day, despite the nationwide vaccination campaign (the effects of the vaccine taking a few weeks to become effective in the population). Then, the curve began to gradually flatten and allowed the authorities to reopen bars, restaurants and cafes from the beginning of March. In recent days, the country has recorded only 200 daily cases of contamination.

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80% of adults over 20 have been vaccinated

Young Israelis meet in the streets of Tel Aviv, without masks, on April 18.

In Israel, nearly 54% of the population, which numbered 9.3 million people, received two injections of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Thus, around 80% of adults over the age of 20 have been vaccinated, according to official data from the country.

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The mask is therefore no longer mandatory outdoors, but it remains mandatory in indoor public and commercial spaces, as specified by the Ministry of Health. The latter also urged the population to always keep a mask handy. The education ministry stressed that schools, even back to pre-epidemic schedules, should continue to encourage hygiene measures, ventilate classrooms and maintain physical distancing as much as possible. could during lessons and recess.

In contrast, the 5.2 million Palestinians in the occupied territories, controlled by Hamas (Islamist), received a limited number of doses, which were supplied by Israel, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, China and the United Arab Emirates. Covax vaccine sharing alliance, co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters