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Israel's health ministry recommends some wear masks indoors amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Israel's health ministry recommends some wear masks indoors amid rise in COVID-19 cases

A staff member hands a face mask to a boy as students return to school after the summer break, less than a month into a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster drive, at Arazim Elementary School in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sep 1, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

JERUSALEM: Israel's health ministry on Tuesday (Sep 12) advised people with compromised immune systems to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces as it marks an increase in COVID-19 hospitalisations ahead of the Jewish holidays.

In a statement, the ministry said there was a "moderate rise" in hospitalisations due to a number of COVID variants found both in Israel and around the world.

"Ahead of the holidays and as a result of increased morbidity, the health ministry recommends people in at-risk groups or those who want to limit the risk of infection wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces."

Large family gatherings are common during the Jewish holiday season, which begins on Sep 15 and extends over about a month.

The ministry said it was soon preparing to issue vaccines that target new subvariants.

COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations have been on the rise in the US, Europe and Asia but are well below previous peaks. Israel is among six countries where a highly mutated COVID-19 variant called BA.2.86 has been detected, but which scientists have said is unlikely to lead to a devastating wave of severe disease and death.

Source: Reuters

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