Israel on Tuesday lifted its requirement for masks to be worn indoors, ending one of its last main restrictions as new COVID-19 infections continued to wane even as vaccinations tapered down after a record rollout.
The Health Ministry said masks would still be required for unvaccinated patients and staff in medical facilities, for people en route to COVID quarantine and passengers on commercial flights.
According to the order signed by Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levi, masks will also not be required at schools, despite the fact that most students are not vaccinated against the pathogen.
Levy also said that although masks are also not required on buses, it would be "a wise choice" to don them in closed, crowded and unventilated locations.
Israel lifted its mask mandate for outdoor spaces and fully reopened its schools on April 18, which was possible due to the world's fastest vaccination campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen its infection rates plummet.
More than 5,455,00 Israeli citizens have received the first vaccine dose, accounting for 58% of the country's population, and more than 5,137,000 — about 55% — have received the second booster shot.
Israel has this month logged either zero or one daily COVID-19 deaths, Health Ministry data shows. New infections have been in a steady but gentle decline after a steep drop-off in February and March.
Israel kicked off its vaccine drive for children aged 12 to 15 last Sunday, with 600,000 eligible for inoculation.