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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel's Health Ministry said on Monday it would shorten the mandatory isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 to five days from seven days, following an initial cut last week, provided they are asymptomatic.
Until last week, the isolation period was 10 days.
The latest decision, which takes effect on Wednesday, brings Israel in line with recommendations in the United States.
A negative home antigen test is also required before ending isolation, the ministry said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said a spike in infections due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the amount of people in isolation has become a burden on the Israeli economy.
"This decision will allow on the one hand to continue to ensure public health, and on the other hand, though difficult, sustain the economy in this period so we can safely get through this wave," Bennett said.
The country's pandemic-response coordinator, Salman Zarka, said the health ministry has found that people are at their most contagious during the first three days after infection.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Barbara Lewis and Mark Heinrich)