Israel lifts indoor mask mandate as coronavirus cases drop | Health info

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has lifted an indoor mask mandate that has been in place for nearly a year as the country’s new coronavirus cases continue to decline.

The end of the masking obligation came into effect on Saturday evening. Masks remain mandatory in hospitals, aged care facilities and on international flights.

Israel has seen new COVID-19 cases drop since the peak of the last wave of infections in January. Severe coronavirus cases have dropped from a peak of over 1,200 during the omicron variant outbreak to around 200.

Since the start of the pandemic two years ago, Israel has recorded more than 4 million coronavirus cases and at least 10,658 deaths, including more than a fifth since January, according to the Health Ministry.

More than 72% of the country’s 9.4 million people have received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and almost half have received three injections.

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Israel closed its borders in November after the new omicron variant of the virus emerged, but in the months that followed reopened the country to foreign visitors and lifted nearly all coronavirus restrictions.

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