Officials expect to lift indoor face-mask requirement within two weeks

Health Ministry officials say the requirement to wear face masks indoors may be lifted within two weeks if the trend of ever-declining contagion continues even as pandemic restrictions are steadily eased.

Israel has all but emerged from the pandemic, with most businesses and schools back to normal and the government announcing the imminent reopening of movie theaters and arts venues following Israel’s world-leading vaccination drive over the past few months.

According to Channel 12, health officials were still keeping in place restrictions on incoming travelers, and were planning on tightening those restrictions to prevent the entry of potential vaccine-resistant variants.

“It’s still important to ensure that contagion does not arrive from outside,” Dr. Sharon Elroy-Price, the Health Ministry’s chief of public health, tells the channel in an interview. “On that front, not only will the restrictions remain, they will be increased. We haven’t yet identified a variant that’s resilient to the vaccine,” she says. “We’re conducting many tests to prevent the entry of any such variant.”

All incoming travelers must still quarantine for about two weeks, and must receive a COVID test on their ninth day in the country, she says.

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