Israel drops the outdoor mask mandate as number of infection drops

With more than half of its population fully vaccinated, Israel on Sunday dropped its outdoor mask mandate.

Masks are still required in indoor public spaces, like stores, malls, and places of worship. But the change was a stark signal of the country’s progress against the pandemic, powered by one of the world’s earliest and fastest vaccine rollouts.The outdoor masking rule was in place continuously for around a year.On Monday, the country also took another step towards a pre-COVID-19 reality with schools fully reopening for the first time since September.

According to The New York Times vaccinations tracker, 60% of Israel’s population has had a first dose of the vaccine, while 56% have had both. Israel’s population is around 9 million people.Discounting under-16s – who are not currently eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – around 81% of Israelis have been fully vaccinated, Reuters reported.