COVID-19: Israel's health minister recommends wearing masks indoors

“We are now seeing a recurring rise in infection and serious cases.," Nitzan Horowitz said and recommended that people, especially those at-risk, wear masks.

 Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz,  December 30, 2021. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, December 30, 2021.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

As the sixth wave of COVID-19 continues to swell, Prime Minister Yair Lapid presided over a meeting in his Jerusalem office on Sunday afternoon to discuss how to cope with the continuing pandemic.

Pursuing  "a prudent and responsible policy"

“Maintaining the level of readiness is critical. We are staying on top of it,” said the new premier, as former prime minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and ministry experts and other state officials looked on.

“We are approaching the peak of the global tourist season at all airports, including in Israel. This will have an impact on the speed of infection,” continued Lapid. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the health minister for making [the surveillance of the disease] a sophisticated system.”

“We are approaching the peak of the global tourist season at all airports, including in Israel. This will have an impact on the speed of infection.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Horowitz responded, “We have functioned with great success over the past year, and we will continue to pursue a prudent and responsible policy – to provide all the tools for maintaining health while maintaining a normal routine. We are now seeing a recurring rise in infection and serious cases....

A face mask is seen on the street in Jerusalem amid the coronavirus pandemic, on February 2, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)A face mask is seen on the street in Jerusalem amid the coronavirus pandemic, on February 2, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

“We recommend that people, especially the at-risk 

population, wear masks indoors.”

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz

“I call on the public to act responsibly, to be tested if they have symptoms or have been in close contact with those infected, and to maintain the rules of isolation for those who have to be at home. We recommend that people, especially the at-risk population, wear masks indoors.”

All present stressed that “living alongside the virus requires preparation and readiness.”

Horowitz said that in accordance with the increase in serious complications, COVID-19 must be monitored and managed, and that maintaining a stock of protective medications and vaccinations will continue.

The discussion was also attended by Naama Schultz, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office; Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash; Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of the ministry’s Public Health Services; Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka; Defense Ministry coronavirus chief Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Moshe Edri; and Eitan Ben-David, deputy head of the National Security Agency.

A rise in cases in COVID-19

In recent days, there has been a significant increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients at Laniado Medical Center in Netanya. As of Sunday morning, 48 patients were hospitalized, eight of them in critical condition, anesthetized and ventilated.

The Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya said it now has 56 COVID-19 patients, 16 of them in serious condition and five in moderate condition.

According to the Health Ministry, during the past week, 193,000 Israelis have been tested and 74,000 were infected, with 425 in serious condition and 29 dying in the previous seven days.