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Israel removes mask mandate for outdoors... 53% of population vaccinated Updated: 2021-04-19 16:07:04 KST

Israel ended a year-long requirement on Sunday to wear a mask in public spaces in the latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions following its mass vaccination drive.
While masks are still required indoors and at large gatherings, for many,.. the change is something they need time to get used to.

"Being without a mask for the first time in a long time, it feels weird, but it's a very good weird. It's like being the mask is like part of me for a really long time so being without it is very, it's weird but good."

Despite the move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that the pandemic isn't yet over, and that citizens should remain cautious.

"First, we are not done with the masks yet. Meaning, inside buildings, inside classrooms we wear masks. Outdoors we can take them off. It is still recommended to wear them in crowded events but generally: Indoors - masks (on), outdoors - can be taken off. The second thing is that we have still not finished with the coronavirus. It can return."

Israel has also reopened its schools, allowing all primary and secondary school grades to return to classrooms.
Teachers are instructed to continue ventilating classrooms and maintaining social distancing in classrooms and during breaks.
This comes as Israel has been able to vaccinate over 53-percent of its 9.3 million citizens with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Its world-leading vaccination campaign has helped Israel lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions, as the country even announced last week that it would be reopening the country to vaccinated foreign tourists from May.
In the months since Israel launched its mass vaccination campaign in December, virus cases and deaths have fallen significantly.
So far the country has reported over 836-thousand cases, and 6,331 deaths.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.
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