Israel to produce custom face masks for people with beards to protect against the coronavirus

Men in Israel who maintain beards for religious reasons will soon be able to purchase custom face masks to accommodate their facial hair and protect themselves against the coronavirus outbreak.

Israeli officials last week began ordering people to cover their mouths and noses in public as a precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases in the country top 8,000.

Healthy Ministry Associate Director-General Itamar Grotto on Monday told Army radio that an industrial certification for masks is being established, “which means that in a few days there will really be masks of different sizes. … Those with beards will be able to use the appropriate masks.”

Men of the Jewish, Muslim or Christian faiths in the country often grow beards as part of their religion, and many feared that a facial covering mandate would force some to shave.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Chief Rabbinate told Al Jazeera that it may consider asking religious Jews to shave if needed.

Israel has reported 55 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, and 585 recoveries. The country has a population of 8.7 million.

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