On Sunday, the coronavirus cabinet that convened after more than a month decided that the new Green Pass rules would come into effect from Thursday onwards, as Israel continues to make efforts for curbing the spread of the disease. The previous Green Passes were revoked on Sunday and the new ones came into effect. However, the enforcement was postponed by the government after the high demand resulted in the online system of the Health Ministry crashing, thereby preventing a number of people from getting new permits. According to the Health Ministry, people can still use the old passes for a couple more days because of the technical difficulties.
A ministry representative did not provide a specific deadline, but said that it was likely to be Thursday when the enforcement would begin. According to the new rules, businesses and venues that need a Green Pass for entry will scan the QR codes of the permits before the holders are granted access. Even though these QR codes were on the Green Pass since the system was launched, most businesses do not scan them for verification and just give them a cursory glance before allowing people through. However, with the launch of the new passes, authorities have said that the enforcement campaign would begin from Thursday and it would be stricter than the previous one.
The QR code of each Green Pass holder should now be scanned via the Health Ministry app and should be compared to their ID for verification before allowing them to enter. The purpose of the code is to make it harder for people to fake the Green Pass. However, the cabinet declared that venues will begin scanning these QR codes from Tuesday, which is confusing because some will still be using the old passes that don’t have a working QR code. A temporary Green Pass can be issued to people who have not recovered from COVID-19 or gotten vaccinated when they present a negative test of the coronavirus.
This temporary pass is valid for 72 hours only and people have to pay for it privately, if they are eligible for vaccination. Ministers said that passes will not be required for school children who visit museums and the same rules are also applicable to the Municipal libraries. The panel also decided to retain the requirements of the Green Pass for different outdoor gatherings, even though it was reported that Health Ministry officials were in favor of waiving them in certain areas, including outdoor attractions, outdoor restaurant seating and swimming pools.
During the meeting on Sunday, the officials of the Health Ministry also presented data regarding the COVID-19 situation in Israel. The Arab community seems to be showing increased morbidity and they also presented a plan of action for addressing the issue. The data shows that more than 6 million Israelis have gotten the first dose of the vaccine, while two doses have been given to 5.6 million people. The booster shot has been given to 3.5 million people. Ministry data shows that 800,000 people in the country who are eligible for a vaccine haven’t gotten a single dose.