Health Ministry says almost all COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted next week

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein will not ask for the government to extend existing COVID-19 restrictions in Israel when they expire on June 1, meaning the country will no longer require proof of vaccination or social distancing in any public spaces.

The development comes as just 27 average daily cases have been diagnosed nationwide over the past week, and as active cases drop to just 510.

However, the Health Ministry says face masks in closed spaces will still be required, with a final decision on the matter to be made in the coming two weeks.

Additionally, limits on entry and exit from the country will remain in place and potentially even be made more stringent to prevent the potential entry of new COVID-variants.

“Israel is going back to normal,” Edelstein says. “Less than six months ago, we started the vaccination campaign. Thanks to the excellent work of the workers in the health system… we carried out the best vaccination drive in the world. We have long been reaping our reward with low morbidity.

“Now, to my joy, the situation allows us to cancel the use of the Green Pass and the restrictions of the ‘purple pass,'” he adds.

But, he says, the return to normal comes with an “asterisk.”

“The Health Ministry is working to continue the low morbidity and will continue to comprehensively observe the situation to prevent an outbreak. Of course, if there is an outbreak, we will have to go back.”

Edelstein urges Israelis not to travel to countries with high morbidity rates and to stick to distancing rules when abroad.

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