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Israel’s Health Ministry issued an alert on Monday advising people in the country to return to wearing masks up indoors as the sixth wave of COVID-19 gets underway.

The move comes as new daily cases of COVID-19 on Monday approached the 6,000 mark (5,817), with a fast-growing positivity rate of 26.38 percent.


According to the Health Ministry, the “R” number indicating the rate of infection has reached 1.51, meaning the spread of coronavirus is once again on the rise in Israel.

“In recent days, there has been a very sharp increase in the number of verified cases of coronavirus in Israel, and with it, there has also been a jump in serious illness. We want to maintain a routine, but also health,” the Health Ministry said Monday in its announcement.

“In a situation where the economy is completely open, the routine is maintained and there are no restrictions, the personal responsibility for the care of each and every one of us arises.

“Therefore, we ask you to make sure to wear a mask in closed spaces, not because it is obligatory but because it is an act of solidarity and caring for others,” the ministry urged.

“Wearing a mask is a simple operation, the discomfort is marginal compared to the contribution and the ability to go through this wave in peace and with a minimum of serious illness and deaths. We must all be careful to take care of ourselves and others.”

The ministry added that a long line of studies from around the world have shown that the use of face masks in enclosed spaces “significantly reduces the risk of coronavirus infection for the individual” and/or the risk of infecting others if one carries the virus.

“In this context, it is very important to ensure proper wearing of the mask (full coverage of the mouth and nose and proper sealing, continuously, in enclosed spaces),” the ministry said.

“Although there are those who consistently try to sow doubts about the effectiveness of masks, the scientific information about their effectiveness in preventing infection and infecting others with the virus is well-founded and solid!”

Those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have recovered from an Omicron infection are best protected against the BA.5 subvariant that is currently spreading, according to researchers at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

“It needs to be understood that someone who was sick with Omicron isn’t sufficiently protected against the new variant, nor are all those who were vaccinated,” the researchers said, “but whoever was sick AND vaccinated, developed more antibodies.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.