Naftali Bennett holds press conference at Ben Gurion
Naftali Bennett holds press conference at Ben GurionFlash90

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting with Health Ministry officials Wednesday afternoon to weigh the possible reimposition of some COVID restrictions.

Following a string of outbreaks of the Indian variant of the coronavirus in Israel, with 180 cases of the Indian variant – also known as the ‘Delta’ SARS-COVID-2 variant – reported thus far, Health Ministry officials said Wednesday a number of restrictions including the mask mandate may be restored in the coming days.

Bennett is slated to discuss with Health Ministry officials the possible reimposition of the mask mandate for indoor public areas, as well as cancelling plans to reopen the country to vaccinated tourists from nations with low infection rates.

Just days ago, the Interior Ministry announced it would permit most vaccinated tourists into the country without prior approval starting on July 1st. And just eight days ago, Israel rescinded the requirement to wear masks in nearly all indoor public areas.

According to a report by Channel 13 Wednesday afternoon, one plan under consideration at Wednesday’s meeting would see the reopening of Israel to tourists pushed off by one month, from July 1st to August 1st.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Bennett announced that the government would reestablish the Coronavirus Cabinet.

For the second day in a row Tuesday, the number of new COVID cases reported in Israel exceeded 100, with 110 positive tests that day, compared to 125 the day before. A total of 0.3% of tests carried out Tuesday came back positive.

The number of seriously ill patients remains low, however, with just 26 of the 554 known active cases being listed as serious.