Israel to remove in-flight mask requirement
Israel is reportedly set to end its mandate for passengers to wear masks on board international flights.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz is seeking to end the requirement for in-flight COVID masks in the near future, similar to the European Union, Channel 12 reported Thursday evening.
Israel lifted its indoor mask mandate on April 24, leaving face coverings only in hospitals, nursing homes and on planes.
Removing on-board masking would lift one of the few remaining COVID restrictions still in place in Israel. But flights from Tel Aviv to some destinations might still require face masks, depending on other international regulations.
From May 20, passengers landing at Ben Gurion Airport will no longer be required to undergo a COVID PCR test before leaving the airport. Israelis flying to Israel have not had to submit a pre-boarding test for several months now; foreigners must always show a negative test result, but it can be a PCR test or an antigen test.
On Wednesday, the European Union said it would no longer recommend the wearing of medical masks at airports and on planes from next week, although member states can still require them.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, taken with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in normalizing air travel”. for passengers and crew.
COVID cases have remained fairly low in Israel in the three weeks since the country lifted its indoor mask mandate, but testing has also become less available.
As of Thursday evening, 17,797 Israelis had COVID, including 2,088 diagnosed on Wednesday. There were 341 people with COVID hospitalized and 109 of them were in serious condition, up from 142 a week ago.
Since the start of the COVID outbreak, 10,749 people in Israel have died from the virus, including two in the past week, a 90% drop from the number of COVID-related deaths a week earlier.
AP contributed to this report.