Top Israeli health official says no indoor mask mandate for now

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Israelis wear protective face masks as they shop in Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 29, 2021.
Miriam Alster/Flash90Israelis wear protective face masks as they shop in Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 29, 2021.

'There is a clear rise, but we will have to monitor the situation in the coming days and reassess next week'

Israel's Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said on Thursday that the ministry has no plans to reinstate the indoor mask mandate in Israel, despite Covid infections in the country continuing to climb.

"We do not yet know whether this is the beginning of a new wave," Ash told Army Radio

"There is a clear rise, but we will have to monitor the situation in the coming days and reassess next week."

Ash called on citizens to assess whether they were at high risk and to act accordingly. "Every person should evaluate their risk," Ash said according to Haaretz

Health Ministry data showed that Israel's infection rate rose on Thursday, reaching 1.27. The rate, known as the R number, shows the average number of people each Covid carrier infects, with any number over one signaling the pandemic is expanding. 

The Health Ministry is also considering bringing back requirements to self-isolate for those who test positive for the virus, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

This comes after Health Ministry Nitzan Horowitz tested positive for the virus, along with parliament members Gilad Karib, Alon Tal, Orit Struck and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri. 

Ash, however, refrained from recommending administrating a fifth vaccine shot. 

"According to the data today, we can not make this decision; we do not have the data to suggest whether another vaccine will protect against infection of this strain and whether it is necessary to give to protect from a serious disease," Ash told Army Radio on Thursday.

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