Amid a “very sharp” rise in COVID-19 cases, Israel’s Health Ministry on Monday recommended a return to wearing masks in closed spaces.

“The wearing of masks is the way to decrease infections in the community and to safeguard high-risk populations and the elderly, who are especially vulnerable to serious disease and death caused by the virus,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“In recent days, Israel is seeing a very sharp rise in the number of corona confirmed cases, and with it, a leap in the number of seriously ill. We want to safeguard the [daily] routine–but also [public] health,” the statement continued.

Nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Sunday, while the number of seriously ill patients stood at 100, Israel’s Walla news site reported on Monday.

The positivity rate of Ministry-supervised COVID-19 tests stood at 26.38%, and the reproduction factor (R) rose to 1.51–which means the virus is spreading rapidly–according to the report.

The Ministry said that it was every individual’s personal responsibility to wear masks in closed places despite there being no obligation to do so at the present.

“This is an act of solidarity and caring towards others,” the statement added.

The Ministry cited a study by the United States Center for Disease Control which found that continuous use of masks in indoor spaces reduced infection risks by up to 50 percent.


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