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Israel: Mass vaccination drive successful, opens schools

Following its mass vaccination drive, Israel has lifted a public mask mandate and fully reopened its education system in the latest easing of coronavirus constraints.

All primary and secondary school grades returned to classrooms on Sunday, and health officials ended a year-long necessity to wear a mask in public places.

But, masks are still needed indoors and in large crowds.

Israel has quickly vaccinated a majority of its population against the coronavirus in a world-leading vaccination drive.

It has lifted most of its coronavirus constraints and declared last week that it would be reopening the country to vaccinated foreign tourists starting in May.

Israel’s coronavirus czar, Nachman Ash, told Israeli public radio on Sunday that removing the mask requirement outdoors and reinitiating in-class studies was a calculated risk.

At the beginning of the pandemic last year, Israel has registered over 836,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 6,331 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

Over 53 per cent of its 9.3 million citizens have received two shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

In the months since Israel launched its vaccination drive in December, serious cases and deaths have fallen very steeply and let the economy fully reestablish.

The vaccination drive in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza has been slow to get off the ground, with Israel facing objection for not sharing more of its stocks.

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