Israel has decided to reimpose the mandatory wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces owing to a rise in Covid-19 cases just 10 days after the measure was lifted – a blow for a country that has prided itself on one of the world’s most successful vaccine rollouts.
The head of Israel’s pandemic response taskforce, Nachman Ash, told public radio on Friday that mask mandates in most indoor situations would be reinstated from noon, after the country recorded four successive days of more than 100 new cases. Thursday’s count of 227 new cases was the highest daily caseload in more than two months.
“We are seeing a doubling every few days,” Ash said on Friday. “Another thing that’s worrying is the infections are spreading. If we had two cities where most of the infections were, we have more cities where the numbers are rising and communities where the cases are going up.”
Ash said the rise in cases was probably due to travellers returning to the country infected with the highly contagious Delta variant, which is believed to be responsible for 70% of the new cases.