TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Israel began opening social restrictions and restoring the routine of its people on Sunday, after nearly half of Israel’s population had been injected with the Covid-19 vaccine.
Shops, restaurants, taverns, entertainment venues, recreation areas, fitness and arts centers are open to all people who have a “Green Passport” status, that is, people who have been vaccinated and are considered to have immunity from the corona virus. This “Green Passport” is displayed on a special application provided by the Ministry of Health, according to Reuters, February 21, 2021.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a gym in central Israel on Saturday night to urge Israelis to adopt the new “Green Passport” system, according to a Times of Israel report. However, at that time the Ministry of Health’s site that issued the Green Passport got stuck several hours before the system was operational.
The Health Ministry said the vaccination certificate could be used as a “Green Passport” until the system was functional.
“There is a heavy burden on services that issue Green Passes, and therefore there may be difficulties,” the ministry said. “At the same time, most applications have been completed successfully and tens of thousands of people have Green Passes.”
However, despite having a Green Passport the social distancing protocol still applies.
People are still prohibited from dancing in banquet halls, while synagogues, mosques or churches are required to halve their number of worshipers from their normal quota, according to Reuters.
In addition, schools for grades 5-6 and 11-12 will be allowed to continue face-to-face classes in cities with low coronavirus infection or moderately infected areas with high vaccination rates, the Times of Israel reported.
Kindergarten and grades 1-4 have previously opened in cities designated as “green” and “yellow” zones with low infection rates in the government’s color-coded system for morbidity. Grades 7-10 across the country are expected to continue distance learning for at least another two weeks.
Also read: Israel’s Ministry of Health: 98.9 Percent Vaccine Effective in Preventing Deaths Due to Covid-19
Exactly a year after Israel’s first recorded coronavirus case, Sunday’s easing of restrictions is part of the government’s plan to open up the economy more broadly next month, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready for elections.
Israel has provided at least one dose of Pfizer Inc vaccine to more than 45% of its population of 9 million, the Health Ministry said. The two-shot regimen has reduced Covid-19 infections by 95.8%, according to ministry data.
Israel has recorded more than 740,000 cases and 5,500 deaths from Covid-19, sparking harsh criticism of the three lockdown applied by the Netanyahu government.
REUTERS | TIMES OF ISRAEL
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