Israelis on Sunday saw life gradually return to normalcy after the government lifted COVID-19 curbs on many businesses and services following its third national lockdown and a vaccination drive that has been hailed as the world’s fastest.
The relaxing of restrictions means stores, libraries, museums can now re-open, but physical distancing and face masks are mandatory.
Shopping malls and shops with street access also re-opened their doors too, but with certain limitations on crowd size.
Most school classes have reopened after a nearly two-month closure. Israel’s entire education system is expected to resume normal operations in early March.
Rapid vaccine campaign
Israel began easing restrictions after a steady flow of data from its health ministry emerged, claiming that the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was 98.9% effective at preventing hospitalizations and death caused by COVID-19.
Citing the data, the Israeli health ministry also said that the rate of COVID-19 infections also declined 95.8% among people who received both shots of the vaccine and that the vaccine was also 98% effective in preventing infections that prompted fever or breathing problems.
Around three million people, almost a third of Israel’s population, have received the two recommended shots of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, said to be the world’s fastest inoculation pace per capita.
In late December, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said Israel’s goal is to vaccinate about 60% of the country’s population by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
(With Agency Inputs)