By Cnaan Liphshiz
With COVID-19 infections rising in Israel, the government has reinstated some emergency measures that had been lifted when the virus was thought to have been beaten there.
Obligatory masks in all closed spaces were reintroduced Friday as health authorities detected 200 new patients daily in testing.
The mask requirement had been lifted on June 15, along with many other restrictions, following a sharp drop in new cases and weeks with zero fatalities and patients with severe symptoms.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the current date for opening the country to individual tourists is Aug. 1, a month later than the previous deadline of July 1.
Driving the infections is a highly contagious Indian variant of the COVID-19 virus, Kan reported. Some evidence suggests that the variant can affect some who have been fully vaccinated, the report said.
But the Weizmann Institute of Science in a report Thursday said the contagion in fully vaccinated individuals is minimal also when exposed to the Indian variant.
About 57% of the Israeli population has been fully vaccinated, including 85% of adults. But that leaves about 3 million unvaccinated minors, who are fueling the current rise in cases, the Weizmann Institute said.
A rapid vaccination rollout led to a dramatic decrease in cases, which led many to believe that Israel had won the fight against COVID-19.
On Monday, health authorities for the first time called on all children older than 12 to be vaccinated. Many parents have complied, the Kan report said.
So far, 6,429 people have died of COVID-19 in Israel.