Israel says goodbye to Covid?

The coronavirus restrictions in Israel, determined by the health ministry, expired last Monday (31/5/2021) without an extension request. Israelis are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or recovery to enter various sites, and capacity limits at all public places such as malls, stores, restaurants and other sites have been lifted. There are no further caps on gatherings, indoors or outdoors. Concerts and festivals, which already restarted with audience restrictions, can now return to pre-pandemic norms. For now, the public is still required to wear masks in closed spaces, though this obligation is expected to also be removed within the following weeks.

The situation today in Israel

Between May 16th and 26th, Israel had between 8 to 55 new cases diagnosed per day, compared to more than 10,000 new cases per day at the peak of the pandemic. Israel’s cases peaked in early 2021, as the extra-contagious British variant swept the country, quickly coming to account for almost all Covid-19 cases.

Today, Israel has under 350 active cases nation-wide, including 40 severe cases. The rate of vaccinated population is at 63% – second largest in the world after the Republic of Seychelles (71.6%).

How did they achieve this?

From the start, Israel was determined to close everything early in order to stop the spread of the virus. Early on, the country maintained strictly monitored borders, demanding testing and quarantining, even in places where virus is waning. Vaccines have transformed the situation in Israel and brought it close to herd immunity, even though the country has not formally achieved this status. Israel implemented policies that were known as the “purple badge” and the “green badge”. Before the vaccine was an option, Israel used the “purple badge”- fever was checked in the entrance of every closed space, masks on in and outside and there were restrictions on the amount of people in every closed space, according to the size of it. When people started to vaccinate, the health ministry introduced the “green badge”- this gave vaccinated or recovered people access to in-door spaces such as restaurants, concerts and even weddings- making it possible for people who are immune to Covid to get back to their normal life. 

Today, Israel has renounced this system as the infection rate is very low and it is no longer needed. This means children and adults who have not been vaccinated will be allowed to attend public activities – without restriction or proof of vaccination. Seems like Israel is getting back to normal.


 

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