The Israeli government has announced new restrictions on Covid-19’s “green passport” to allow indoor entry only to people who have already received a booster dose of a coronavirus immunizer. The new rules take effect this Sunday (3).
As of today, the green passport will be valid for just six months after the holder’s last dose of vaccine, a change that will affect between 1.7 million and 1.9 million Israelis, according to local media. All current certificates have been canceled and citizens need to make a new document through the website or application of the Ministry of Health in the country.
The ministry said on Sunday that its website and application underwent instabilities, due to the large number of people who tried to download the new certificate, and that, therefore, the current document will be valid until Thursday. The ministry said more than 1 million new certificates were issued this Sunday.
The document is required for entry into shops, restaurants, cultural events, gyms and other closed places.
After the changes were announced, Israelis protested the country’s health passport on Sunday, reported the Associated Press. Protesters consider the system a form of mandatory vaccination.
To receive the certificate, citizens must have received a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine, or have received the second dose within the last six months. As of Thursday, about 1.6 million Israelis who are already eligible for the third dose had not yet been vaccinated, meaning they will lose their new certificate, the newspaper reported. Haaretz. Most doses given in Israel are from Pfizer’s vaccine.
Israel’s Ministry of Health recommends that those who have recovered from Covid-19 receive a single dose of the vaccine. Previously, patients recovered from the disease were able to receive the green certificate even if they were not vaccinated. Now, the passport will only be valid for six months for these people, who after that period will have to take a dose of the vaccine to maintain the validity of the document.
The Israeli health authorities’ decisions were taken after evidence indicated that the coronavirus immunity of patients recovered from Covid-19 decreases over the months, as does the immunity conferred by vaccines.
Still, the increase in Covid-19 cases in recent months in Israel is mainly attributed to the small portion of its population that is not vaccinated. This Sunday, 588 patients are admitted to hospitals in the country with severe cases of infection – among them, more than 70% were not vaccinated, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday during a meeting of the Coronavirus Office that the outbreak caused by the delta variant of the virus is beginning to be brought under control.
“When a virus starts to retreat, we can’t let it recover,” Bennett said, according to local media. He advocated continuing strict restrictions, to avoid “signaling to the public that we are no longer wearing masks.” For the prime minister, the most urgent task is to ease restrictions on the educational system to end the “mass quarantines in schools”.
This was the first meeting of the Israeli cabinet to combat the coronavirus in more than a month, and discussed ways to encourage the booster dose of immunizations among the country’s population, as well as relaxing restrictions if infection rates decrease in the coming days.