Mandatory mask-wearing returns for several schools following outbreaks • The ministry is investigating whether the recent outbreaks involve the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
Israel’s Health Ministry on Sunday called on all attendees of an indoor concert in the northern Israeli city of Beit She’an on June 17 to immediately enter quarantine and get tested for COVID-19, after one of the concertgoers tested positive for the virus.
According to the ministry, the source of the infection was still under investigation, but is believed to be connected to an individual that recently returned from abroad.
Also on Sunday, Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi signed an order requiring the wearing of masks in schools in Binyamina and Modi’in Maccabim-Reut, in both open and closed areas, following COVID-19 outbreaks in those areas. Israel lifted its indoor mask requirement on June 15.
The ministry is investigating whether the new cases involve the highly contagious delta variant of the virus. First identified in India, the delta variant has since spread to more than 80 countries. World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan was quoted by Reuters on June 18 as saying that delta was becoming the globally dominant variant of the virus.
The Health Ministry announced in May that it would begin preparations to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds. In February, all Israelis over the age of 16 became eligible to receive the vaccine.
As of Sunday morning, the Health Ministry reported 290 active coronavirus cases in Israel, with 23 patients in serious condition, and 46 new cases confirmed since midnight. Nearly 5.5 million Israelis have received at least one shot of the vaccine; of those, 5,149,382 have received both doses.
Caption: Israeli students wearing face masks to school in Tel Aviv, April 18, 2021.
Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.