שרון אלרועי פרייס
Health Ministry's Public Health Director Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
 Israelis wearing masks on a bus

Israel to bring back indoor mask mandate from Sunday, health official says

Public Health Director Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis tells Ynet if the daily average of 100 new COVID cases continues, mask use in confined spaces will again be mandatory; adds Israel's 'Achilles' heel' is lack of regulation on overseas travel

Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 06.24.21, 12:02
Israel is likely to reinstate the indoor mask mandate from Sunday due to resurgence of COVID-19 in the country, a senior health official said.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Facebook and Twitter

    netnews" target="_blank">Twitter

  • The Health Ministry said on Thursday the daily number of new coronavirus cases has surpassed 100 for the third day in a row following two, mass coronavirus outbreaks in schools in Binyamina and Modi'in last week.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
     Israelis wearing masks on a bus
     Israelis wearing masks on a bus
    Israelis wearing masks on a bus
    (Photo: Oren Rice)
    Health Ministry's Public Health Director Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis told Ynet on Thursday morning the ministry will likely recommend reinstating the mandate next week but it will be up to the government to implement it.
    "A decision has been made that once we have a daily average of 100 cases over one week, we will bring back masks in confined spaces," she said. "I assume this will happen as early as Sunday in light of the very fast spread we are seeing."
    Her comments came less than 24 hours after she said during a press conference that if Israel would see over 100 new COVID patients for several days in a row, the mask mandate will return.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    שרון אלרועי פרייס
    שרון אלרועי פרייס
    Health Ministry's Public Health Director Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    "We were always ready for it, we kept saying 'the pandemic is not behind us'. We keep monitoring, checking, closing borders and doing everything because this thing can come back."
    Dr. Alroy-Preis added, however, the Health Ministry can only recommend which steps to take and the task of enforcement lies solely with the government.
    "We must remember the Health Ministry is not the enforcement body in the State of Israel. The problem here is enforcement and not something else. We have a very clear policy on which places Israelis should not travel to, but it should be enforced. It's really our Achilles' heel."
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מיה שאלתיאל מרחובות ואלה מחלב משדה חמד טסות לקפריסין
    מיה שאלתיאל מרחובות ואלה מחלב משדה חמד טסות לקפריסין
    Israelis at Ben Gurion Airport preparing to fly to Cyprus
    (Photo: Roi Rubinstein)
    She said the lack of adherence to mandatory quarantine rules for travelers from high risk countries is one of the main causes behind the latest outbreak.
    “We know that responsiveness to maintaining self-isolation is about 30%. People returning from abroad do not stay in self-isolation and can spread the disease. This is how the Delta variant made its way to us," she said.
    "Therefore, the issue of quarantine enforcement should be a priority for law enforcement agencies in the State of Israel."
    Talkbacks for this article 0