JERUSALEM, Israel – Israelis will no longer be required to wear masks outside beginning on Sunday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Thursday.
The mask mandate will remain for public indoor spaces.
“The masks are intended to protect us from the coronavirus,” Edelstein said. “After professionals decided this was no longer required in open spaces, I decided to enable taking them off.”
Edelstein credited Israel’s successful vaccine rollout with the country’s significant decrease in infection.
More than three-quarters of Israel’s adult population has been vaccinated in just over three months. Infection rates have plummeted, allowing Israel to reopen its economy in recent weeks.
A top health expert said Israel may have already reached “a sort of herd immunity.”
Eran Segal, a computational biologist professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, told Channel 12 that because most Israelis have been vaccinated, the reopening of the economy and holiday celebrations during Purim and Passover did not cause a jump in cases.