Israel Renews Indoor COVID Mask Mandate as Delta Variant Spreads

Coronavirus czar, Dr. Nachman Ash, says that while cases are rising, he does not believe that Israel is entering a fourth wave and doesn't plan on imposing new lockdowns

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
People wearing masks in Jerusalem on Thursday.
People wearing masks in Jerusalem on Thursday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Israel's Health Ministry reinstated the indoor mask mandate beginning Friday at 12:00 P.M., following a recent rise in coronavirus infections attributed to the delta variant.

The Health Ministry also recommends that Israelis wear masks during mass public events, even if they are held in the open air, "like the Pride events that will take place this weekend across the country."

Israel's deep apartheid is here to stay: LISTEN to Gideon Levy

Israel's coronavirus czar Dr. Nachman Ash said Friday that Israel is seeing a sharp rise in infections, as 227 new cases were diagnosed on Thursday, though he does not believe Israel is entering a fourth wave of the virus.

"About 0.6 percent of the tests are positive, indicating an increase in infection rate," he said. Ash explained that though the number of active cases is doubling every few days, "the rate is high because there are relatively few cases. As more cases are found, we don't expect it to continue at this [exponential] rate."

Ash noted that there is evidence that the outbreak has spread beyond the two cities it started in, but stopped short of warning of a nationwide outbreak.

"My guess is that we will not see a fourth wave," Ash said, though he did accede that there is the "potential" for the wider spread.

Ash said that he would be conducting a situational assessment and that they may reimpose mandatory masks as early as Friday. However, at the moment he said, there would be no further restrictions.

When asked why he wouldn't recommend another lockdown, Ash said that the previous lockdowns "failed to suppress the infection rate" and were not effective in halting the spread of the virus.

The northern city of Binyamina has been declared "red" on Israel's so-called traffic light system, reflecting a relatively high rate of coronavirus infection, amid a new uptick in cases.

The increased infection is attributed to the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in the country – a strain first identified in India. The World Health Organization says it is becoming the globally dominant version of the virus.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott