Israel Set to Lift Most COVID Restrictions Next Week

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Israelis walking in Tel Aviv, last week.
Israelis walking in Tel Aviv, last week. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Almost all coronavirus restrictions in Israel will be lifted starting on June 1, the Health Ministry said Sunday.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he would not request an extension of regulations that expire on that date. People will still be required to wear face masks indoors until deliberations on the matter over the next two weeks, and travel to and from Israel will still be limited, the Health Ministry said.

Access to public places will no longer be restricted to people who can prove they have been vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus.

"The return to normal is with an asterisk" and authorities will continue to monitor the sitatuion, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said. "Of course, if there is an outbreak we will have to go backward."

As of Sunday, there were 510 active coronavirus cases in Israel, with 59 in serious condition, with a roughly 0.1-0.2 percent rate of positive tests. At the peak of the pandemic in Israel, there were around 88,000 active cases. Over 5.1 million people have received both doses of the vaccine, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists on Sunday after a fall in COVID-19 infections but said it would take time for visitors to start arriving and to revive the tourism industry. 

Under an easing of coronavirus restrictions, the government went ahead with a plan to start letting in small groups of tourists from countries using vaccines it has approved. But registration for the Tourism Ministry's plan opened only last week, so the number of visitors will initially be limited. "It is unlikely that the first groups will arrive before the beginning of June," a Tourism Ministry spokeswoman said.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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