Israel lifts nearly all COVID restraints as virus fades away

Israel got the first taste of a post-pandemic reality Tuesday, as the last of a series of restrictions in place for over a year lapsed amid a continuing fall in case numbers.

The Green Pass and Purple Badge systems, which had set guidelines for who can enter public venues and how those venues can operate, expired starting June 1, meaning that Israelis no longer require proof of vaccination or recovery to enter various venues, and capacity limits at stores, restaurants and other sites are lifted. There are now no caps on gatherings, indoors or outdoors.

Most businesses and schools have already returned to normal and enforcement of many health requirements that remained on paper have largely fallen away.

The only major restrictions remaining are a mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors, which is expected to be lifted soon as well, and quarantine requirements for unvaccinated people entering the country.

The scrapping of restrictions takes effect as case numbers have fallen to just 350, with only a handful of new daily cases. On Sunday, only four new cases were recorded, down from 12 on Saturday.

This comes after an intense coronavirus crisis which saw 839,475 cases in a country of just over 9 million people, and 6,412 deaths. At the height of the pandemic, there were 88,000 active cases in the country, with thousands more added daily, and 1,228 serious cases.

The restriction rollback has largely been made possible by the country’s world-leading vaccination drive. Over 70 percent of those in Israel aged 20 or over have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the government is set to approve vaccination of adolescents as young as 12 in the coming days.

(c) Times of Israel


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