Israel drops outdoor mask mandate after almost a year with around 80 per cent of people vaccinated

Israel has dropped its almost year-long outdoor mask mandate as it inches towards total immunisation of its adult population. 

The restriction, which required masks to be worn outdoors unless exercising, was lifted on Sunday as Reuters reported that the country had vaccinated around 80 per cent of its adult population. 

‘The rate of infection in Israel is very low thanks to the successful vaccine campaign in Israel, and therefore it is possible to ease [restrictions],’ Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Thursday, adding that masks will still be required indoors.

Israel’s highly successful vaccination campaign has seen close to five million of its 9.3million people vaccinated, according to Reuters.

Israel has dropped its almost year-long outdoor mask mandate as it inches towards total immunisation of its adult population. Pictured: Israelis watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

Israel has dropped its almost year-long outdoor mask mandate as it inches towards total immunisation of its adult population. Pictured: Israelis watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

Israel has dropped its almost year-long outdoor mask mandate as it inches towards total immunisation of its adult population. Pictured: Israelis watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

The restriction, which required masks to be worn outdoors unless exercising, was lifted on Sunday as Reuters reported that the country had vaccinated around 80 per cent of its adult population

The restriction, which required masks to be worn outdoors unless exercising, was lifted on Sunday as Reuters reported that the country had vaccinated around 80 per cent of its adult population

The restriction, which required masks to be worn outdoors unless exercising, was lifted on Sunday as Reuters reported that the country had vaccinated around 80 per cent of its adult population

Israel's highly successful vaccination campaign has seen close to five million of its 9.3million people vaccinated, according to Reuters. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

Israel's highly successful vaccination campaign has seen close to five million of its 9.3million people vaccinated, according to Reuters. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

Israel’s highly successful vaccination campaign has seen close to five million of its 9.3million people vaccinated, according to Reuters. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

The drive has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained millions of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in part by agreeing to share with Pfizer medical data on the product’s impact.

The vaccines have transformed life in Israel. In mid-January the country had a peak of some 10,000 new infections a day but the rate is now about 200 cases a day.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained millions of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in part by agreeing to share with Pfizer medical data on the product’s impact

The rate of new infections has remained low even after in-person learning resumed and restrictions were loosened on bars, restaurants and indoor gatherings.

Strict measures also remain in place for anyone entering the country with citizens and foreigners alike required to self isolate.   

‘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 vaccines have transformed life in Israel. In mid-January the country had a peak of some 10,000 new infections a day but the rate is now about 200 cases a day

The vaccines have transformed life in Israel. In mid-January the country had a peak of some 10,000 new infections a day but the rate is now about 200 cases a day

The vaccines have transformed life in Israel. In mid-January the country had a peak of some 10,000 new infections a day but the rate is now about 200 cases a day

The vaccine drive The drive has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus

The vaccine drive The drive has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus

The vaccine drive The drive has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was a guest of honour at a government ceremony on Wednesday evening marking the 73rd anniversary of the founding of Israel.

‘Together we are demonstrating that through mass vaccinations we can defeat the Covid-19 pandemic and save lives,’ Bourla said in a video address.

Throughout the festivities marking the anniversary, thousands of people held barbecues, lounged on beaches and celebrated at parties, often without masks.

On Wednesday, Israel announced a plan to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to return in groups beginning May 23, more than a year after closing its borders to most tourists to prevent the spread of the virus. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

On Wednesday, Israel announced a plan to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to return in groups beginning May 23, more than a year after closing its borders to most tourists to prevent the spread of the virus. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

On Wednesday, Israel announced a plan to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to return in groups beginning May 23, more than a year after closing its borders to most tourists to prevent the spread of the virus. Pictured: People out and about in Jerusalem on Sunday

Strict measures also remain in place for anyone entering the country with citizens and foreigners alike required to self isolate. Pictured: People watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

Strict measures also remain in place for anyone entering the country with citizens and foreigners alike required to self isolate. Pictured: People watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

Strict measures also remain in place for anyone entering the country with citizens and foreigners alike required to self isolate. Pictured: People watch the sunset in Tel Aviv on Sunday

On Wednesday, Israel announced a plan to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to return in groups beginning May 23, more than a year after closing its borders to most tourists to prevent the spread of the virus.

Israel’s easing of restrictions stands in contrast to the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip, where infection rates remain high and vaccinations are low.

Rights groups say Israel must supply vaccines to the 4.8million Palestinians living there. 

Israel has supplied a relatively small number to Palestinians, saying they must obtain their own shots. 

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