On Friday, the Director-General of the Health Ministry, Nachman Ash said that as coronavirus cases in the country continue to wane, they can begin to ease some of the restrictions. However, he still urged people to remain cautious ahead of the winter season and added that people would not be allowed to remove their masks in indoor spaces anytime soon. Ash said that with morbidity declining, curbs could be cut back and they were planning on removing some of the Green Pass restrictions. This was a confirmation of a Thursday report that said the government was planning to ease the COVID-19 restrictions because morbidity had fallen to levels that hadn’t been seen in months.
On Friday morning, the figures published by the Health Ministry showed that the number of positive cases on Thursday was around 1,325, which was a significant fall from the 10,000 cases that had been diagnosed per day during the peak of the fourth wave in August and September. The total number of tests conducted was 90,000 and 1.4% is the rate of the positive tests, which is the lowest it has been in three months. The number of patients in serious condition was around 385, which includes 164 people who are on ventilators.
The death toll in the country since the beginning of the pandemic has reached almost 8,000, as it was around 7,976 on Friday morning. There are only two localities where the cases have surpassed 500, as there were 689 cases in Tel Aviv and 2,122 in Jerusalem. A month ago, there were more than 1,000 cases in more than 16 cities. The total number of active cases in the country were at 20,981. While the trend is undoubtedly encouraging, Ash said that they were not going to take off the masks. He added that fears of a new outbreak would be calmed with more people in the country getting vaccinated.
He said that there was a risk of morbidity rising once more in the winter. The third booster shot has so far been administrated to four million people in Israel and he estimated that it would give more long-lasting protection to the people than the first two doses. However, he added that authorities would need to identify waning protection quickly this time for avoiding another major wave. It was also reported on Thursday that the coronavirus cabinet would be meeting on Monday and they would discuss easing off the coronavirus restrictions in the country.
These measures include expansion of the ‘Green Classroom’ pilot program to daycares, as it is limited to Grades 1 through 12 for now. Under this program, students exposed to a positive coronavirus case can attend classes routinely, as long as they have a negative PCR test result. The entire class doesn’t need to quarantine for a full week anymore. The easing of restrictions would also include lifting the requirement of presenting the Green Pass for kids under the age of 12, who are not eligible for the vaccination. Gyms would also be given permission to operate without it.