Jerusalem | For a year now, Israelis have been walking the streets without seeing their faces banned from sanitary masks. But on Sunday, the latter fell abroad, in a sign of the country’s first “victory” over the Coronavirus.
Also read: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
Jerusalem. Sunday 9 am at the corner of Jaffa and King George Streets, buses and trams are exempt from the influx of passengers who take off their masks. Inside, this is mandatory, outside, it hasn’t been around since Sunday.
Ileana Gamulka, with curly blonde hair and blue eyes, got off the bus and tied her yellow mask on her wrist. A simple gesture, but for the first time legal in over a year.
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“I put on my mask on the bus, and most people were wearing it too, and then I took it off […]. I feel relieved, we can start living again, ”This 26-year-old project manager releases and is thrilled with the action that took place two weeks before her marriage.“ We can all party without a mask, that will make for good pics! ”
“You can’t pretend you don’t get to know people on the streets anymore,” she jokes.
When getting off the bus, other people keep keeping their masks or wearing them by their throats in order to put them at the entrance to work, for example. Esther Malka, who says she is “used” to wear the mask, prefers to wait a little longer before taking it off on the street.
“It’s allowed [de le retirer]But I’m still afraid […]. We’ll see what happens when everyone takes off their masks. If I see everything going well in a month or two, I will pull it out, ”this office employee testifies.
On the sidelines of the celebrations marking the anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Israel, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced, on Thursday evening, the lifting of the obligation to wear the mask in outdoor public places, thanks to an intense vaccination campaign.
This was achieved thanks to an agreement between the Hebrew state and the German pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
In exchange for quick access to millions of doses of the vaccine, Israel, which has digitized medical data for all of its residents, provided Pfizer with data on the vaccination’s impact.
As soon as the health authorities announced this, the masks began to disappear. And Thursday evening, in the bars of the Mahane Yehuda Central Market in Jerusalem, smiles returned to their faces.
“Commercial for Pfizer”
Since December, nearly five million Israelis (53% of the population) have received two doses of the vaccine, or about 80% of the population over the age of 20, according to official data from the state, which has recorded about 836,000 cases of infection. COVID-19 and more than 6,300 deaths.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that “we are not done with the Coronavirus yet, because it can return.”
And to add: “The most important thing to prevent a recurrence of the coronavirus is to give millions of additional doses, because sooner or later we will need another vaccine. The current vaccine could expire after six, nine months or a year.”
In January, Israel saw a peak of 10,000 cases per day despite the vaccination campaign, with the effects of the vaccine taking a few weeks to feel.
The curve began to stabilize, allowing authorities to reopen bars, restaurants and cafes in early March.
If, in recent days, the country recorded only 200 daily cases in the Palestinian territories, pollution is on the rise, with 23 deaths in one day in the Gaza Strip, which is the worst local daily toll since the beginning of the epidemic.
While in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, many are enjoying the spring sun without a mask.
“It’s an excellent advertisement for Pfizer,” says Shalom Yitzcan, a computer scientist in his forties, who has been bored in the last months of the Coronavirus.
“I was sick for three days, had neck pain, and I felt weak […]But this is victory, “he rejoices as he walks briskly.” I just hope the changes won’t catch up to us. “