wearing masks during COVID pandemic
wearing masks during COVID pandemic iStock

The Health Ministry's epidemic treatment team convened Wednesday for a special discussion in light of the continuous increase in coronavirus infection in Israel.

The team members decided to recommend the restoration of the use of masks in enclosed spaces and in particular at large gatherings.

At the same time, it was decided not to promote at this stage the administration of a fifth dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The team of experts called for complete immunization through a fourth dose of those eligible for it.

The recommendations will be submitted for approval to the Director General of the Health Ministry, Dr. Nachman Ash.

Earlier, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz held a consultation with senior healthcare professionals in view of the rise in COVID morbidity data.

The discussion focused on the current situation and the morbidity data in recent days, which indicate a new upward trend after months of declining numbers. Professionals expect this new upward trend to continue.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz asked for the tone of the discussion to be one of calm reassurance. "I suggest avoiding the terminology of 'waves.' This is a disease and it has its ups and downs.

"We have been keeping the situation under observation and the health system knows how to contain it," he added.

For the moment, the government has decided to enhance the protection of the elderly and the Magen Avot institutions, and it will also be stressing its recommendation to the elderly and people at risk to wear face-masks in indoor settings. The obligation to wear face-masks in healthcare institutions and Magen Avot residential homes will remain in place.

In addition, the Health Ministry will continue to monitor the situation via analysis of sewage and the country's intelligence services will continue to amass relevant data.