Israel lifted the ban on wearing face masks outside and reopened all campuses, marking the latest step toward normalcy, aided by a mass vaccination drive against the COVID-19 pandemic. Israel has seen sharp declines in contagion and cases as nearly 54 percent of its 9.3 million population has taken all doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Protective masks were ordered to be worn outside by police a year ago, but the Health Ministry said the rule still existed for indoor public spaces and advised people to keep masks on hand.
With Israeli kindergarteners, primary school students, and high school students already back in class, middle school students who had been held at home or who had only attended a class on a sporadic basis were able to resume their pre-pandemic schedules.
According to the education ministry, schools should continue to promote personal hygiene, classroom ventilation, and social distancing as much as possible during breaks and lessons. Israel counts Palestinians from East Jerusalem among its citizens and has been administering vaccinations there.
Israel, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, the global COVAX vaccine-sharing program, and China have been providing small vaccine supplies to the 5.2 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.