June 28, 2021 – The Israeli government on Friday informed residents that they need to start wearing face masks indoors again because of an increase in coronavirus infections that health authorities attribute to the Delta variant. cause.
The government dropped the requirement to wear face masks indoors 10 days ago, with the exception of air travelers and unvaccinated people in long-term healthcare facilities. However, the number of infections has quadrupled this week, to 138 after outbreaks at two schools, Reuters reported, and the government reset the mask regulation.
The Israeli Ministry of Health said that people should wear masks in all indoor environments except the home. The government said masks should also be worn during large outdoor gatherings, such as gay pride events taking place this weekend.
In another step taken to limit the Delta variant, the government delayed allowing foreign nationals to enter Israel for tourism from July 1 to August 1, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Our goal right now is, first of all, to protect Israeli citizens from the Delta variant that is prevalent in the world,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The journal said Israeli health officials think about 90% of new infections can be attributed to the Delta variant.
Israel is a highly vaccinated country, with about 55% of the population having received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Reuters reported. The government is advising parents to get children 12-15 years of age immunized.
The New York Times reports that the highly contagious Delta variant is believed to be responsible for the rise in cases around the world, including the third wave that swept through Africa, The New York Times reported.
More than 5 million COVID cases and 140,000 deaths have been recorded in Africa, the Times said. Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, said in a press conference on Thursday that previous waves of infections were not so severe, but the third “has come with a degree of severity that many countries don’t have. prepare for the confrontation”.
The World Health Organization found the Delta variant in most of the samples sequenced in the last month, The Times said.
The Times cites the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying the Delta variant has been detected in 13 African countries spanning health resources in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Zambia. , the Times reported.
Only about 1% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated, the Times reports.
“We have to vaccinate quickly and on a large scale,” says Nkengasong. “We’re racing against time.”