Masking tape

No mask, no problem: Health Ministry DIY video has you covered

After prime minister tells Israelis to cover up when out in public, short clip published on social media platforms demonstrates improvised face protection gear

A baby girl plays with a masked monkey in Tel Aviv on March 29, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
A baby girl plays with a masked monkey in Tel Aviv on March 29, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

After advising Israelis not to leave home without a mask, the Health Ministry is now telling people that they don’t need to rush out for top of the line N-95s, but can instead just cobble together a face protector at home.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday evening published a short video explaining how to make simple improvised facial coverings in order to comply with the latest government regulations, which urge everyone to wear masks when venturing outside.

Because of a global shortage in masks, officials have advised that Israelis improvise masks or some other way to cover their faces and leave heavy-duty masks for health professionals on the front lines.

In the Hebrew-language video, a presenter guides viewers through the process of converting a rectangular piece of fabric and two small elastic hairbands into a face mask covering the nose and mouth.

The presenter advises using woven cotton material, percale fabric from sheets, or satin, but not stretch cotton material, strips cut from clothing, or towels.

“There is no need to wear masks at home or if alone at the office,” she says.

The video was published on various social media platforms. (Here is roughly the same method in English.)

Many Israelis have already taken to wearing face masks when outside and masks have become a common item for sale in many grocery stores.

People wear face masks to protect them from the coronavirus as they buy matzot for the upcoming Passover festival, at a supermarket in Jerusalem. March 31, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening said at a press briefing that all Israelis should wear masks when out in public.

Netanyahu, emerging from voluntary quarantine at his official residence in Jerusalem after an aide tested positive for the coronavirus, said that people who don’t have masks can use an improvised facial covering such as a scarf.

Israelis were ordered starting last Wednesday to remain in their homes unless they are taking part in a small number of approved activities, including for some work, purchasing food and medicine or taking a short walk no more than 100 meters (328 feet) from their home. Those found violating those regulations are subject to fines of upwards of NIS 500 ($140) or imprisonment.

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