Bracing for second wave, Israel now making N95 masks

Country taking steps to prepare for resurgence of coronavirus to hit, Gantz says as he announces the opening of a Sderot-based factory that will produce the high-spec face coverings

Israel said Sunday it has opened a factory to make millions of high-spec masks as it prepares for a possible "second wave" of coronavirus cases.
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  • After imposing tough measures to tackle the COVID-19 illness, Israel has fared relatively well in the initial months of the pandemic.

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     ישיבת ממשלה
     ישיבת ממשלה
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz wears a mask during a government meeting in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
    More than 17,700 infections have been registered among a population of 9 million, with nearly 300 deaths.
    But as the country has gradually opened up in recent weeks, new outbreaks have occurred and the government has warned people not to become complacent.
    "We are preparing for a second wave of the virus," said Defense Minister Benny Gantz, announcing the country's first production line of N95 masks.
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    ארה"ב ניו יורק מסכות N-95 N95 מסכה מסיכות מסיכה נגיף קורונה
    ארה"ב ניו יורק מסכות N-95 N95 מסכה מסיכות מסיכה נגיף קורונה
    Boxes of N95 masks set to be used in New York
    (Photo: Reuters)
    N95 masks offer a higher level of protection and are more sturdy than the simple medical masks worn by many Israelis.
    The new masks are being made in Sderot, a southern town near the Gaza Strip, using machines that the Defense Ministry imported from China.
    Although Israel has experienced a comparatively low number of coronavirus cases, more than 120 schools reopened last month have since been closed again.
    Hundreds of pupils have tested positive for coronavirus and nearly 17,500 pupils and staff are being quarantined after contact with those infected, according to the Education Ministry.
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    חיטוי בית ספר "הגימנסיה" בירושלים
    חיטוי בית ספר "הגימנסיה" בירושלים
    Disinfection in a Jerusalem classroom after students test positive for coronavirus
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    The pandemic is also affecting politics, with parliamentary employees told to stay home Thursday after a lawmaker contracted the virus.
    Four fellow Knesset members are in quarantine after Sami Abu Shahadeh tested positive, while parliamentary activities have been reduced to a minimum.
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