On April 18, Israel lifted the requirement to wear face masks in open-air areas, following the decline in new COVID-19 cases in the country.
In addition, children in grades 1-12 returned to school as usual.
Until now, the public was required to don face masks while outdoors. The few exemptions were restaurant diners in open-air areas or people exercising. Even with the easing of restrictions, face masks will remain mandatory indoors; exceptions are public-speaking occasions, teaching and some cases of medical treatment.
Israel’s education system also fully reopened on April 18, welcoming students from grades 1-12 back to their regular classrooms and schedules. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, some age groups were required to either study from home or attend school in “capsule” groups on alternate days.
Israel’s large-scale inoculation campaign is credited with lowering coronavirus numbers: More than 5,340,000 citizens have received their first vaccination shot, and almost 5 million have received both jabs. It is believed that Israel may already have achieved herd immunity.
Israel’s Health Ministry reported that as of April 18, there were 2,540 active coronavirus patients in the country, with only 82 new patients identified a day earlier. Of all the patients, 206 are in serious condition. Overall, 6,334 people have died from COVID-19 since the virus hit Israel.
(Edited by Fern Siegel and David Martosko)
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