On Wednesday, the coronavirus cabinet in Israel reportedly removed a Green Pass requirement for accessing outdoor dining, open-air attractions and swimming pools, from next week onwards. The new Green Pass came into effect on Monday, which is basically a document that gives access to public places to those who have recovered from COVID-19, have been inoculated against it, or have tested negative for it. But, this document will not be required to gain entry to even indoor swimming pools, open-air attractions and neither for sitting at outdoor tables in restaurants. Gyms will still require the Green Pass.
However, the authorities did not confirm the information. It is also expected that the Health Ministry would delay the introduction of new rules for gaining access to public places during the COVID-19 pandemic and also put off the implementation of the new Green Pass system for 10 days. The existing Green Passes of around 2 million Israelis were revoked on Sunday and the new ones were supposed to come into effect from Saturday midnight. However, the system crashed because of a horde of Israelis rushing to download the new permits the next day. Hence, the Ministry was forced to extend the validity of the new passes till Thursday.
According to reports, the system is still facing technical difficulties, so the deadline is expected to be delayed till October 17th. But, the Health Ministry has not yet made a formal announcement about a delay. These developments came as there is a slide in the number of infections in Israel, which officials hope will highlight a waning of the fourth COVID-19 wave in the country. According to the figures provided by the Health Ministry, there were less than 3,000 cases diagnosed on Tuesday. This is a drastic difference from three weeks ago when the daily number of cases was more than 10,000.
On Wednesday, the total number of patients in serious condition in the country was 472, even though it had stubbornly remained at more than 650 cases for a few weeks until the start of the month. The death toll in the country has continued to tick upwards, with the total number of deaths in Israel since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic reached 7,863 on Wednesday. This was 19 higher than the previous day. Even though the infection rates are falling, Health Ministry officials were still not willing to accept the suggestion of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about not requiring schoolkids to quarantine after coming into contact with a confirmed case and do testing within schools in cities that have low infection rates.
Currently, they are testing this system in the country across hundreds of classrooms and the pilot will come to an end in 10 days. Changes will be made to the national policy after the result of the pilot program. A senior Health Ministry official reportedly said that only the results of the pilot will indicate if changes to the quarantine policy can be justified and a decision will be taken after.