Late Saturday, Director-General of the Health Ministry, Nachman Ash said that officials will drop their demand for additional coronavirus restrictions in the country, due to a steady fall in serious morbidity. Ash said that as morbidity continues to decline, they believe they are nearing the end of the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the country. Therefore, they would not be asking for stricter restrictions in the meeting scheduled of the coronavirus cabinet on Sunday. The high-level cabinet will convene today for the first time in more than a month. It will be focused on the restrictions to be imposed in schools, along with the new eligibility requirements of the Green Pass that will also go into effect on Sunday.
This Sunday meeting comes after the health officials in the country and the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had a public spat regarding imposing additional restrictions, which the latter opposes. Bennett had criticized the medical experts in a press briefing in New York and said that they were not looking at the full picture and didn’t have the authority to make the final decisions. Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister as well as Ash were displeased with the comments. On Thursday, the premier met with top health officials in the country and a public message was released, indicating an end of the fued.
On Friday, it was also reported that the two sides would now issue joint statements for releasing any future information regarding the coronavirus policy. Bennett said on Saturday that despite waning COVID-19 cases, it was ‘too early to celebrate’. The premier said that with the school system reopening once more and ending of large-scale quarantines meant that they had reached a very critical stage. He added that it was time for them to be strict with their existing policies and not become complacent.
The premier also urged people in the country to get vaccinated because it is essential in keeping the country open and running. The new rules for the Green Pass will come into effect from today, which means nearly 2 million people in Israel will lose them because they haven’t received the third booster shot. The Green Pass’s validity will now be six months from the date a person receives the last shot. New passes will be issued through the app or the website of the Health Ministry. These became available after Saturday midnight.
While these new regulations are being implemented, the country is showing clear signs of coming out from the fourth wave that has plagued it since June. The number of serious cases in the country are declining consistently and they went below the 600 mark for the first time since August on Friday. The Health Ministry also disclosed that majority of the patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated. There are also people who have received only two shots, with those having received three shots of the vaccine accounting for the least number of people hospitalized, indicating that the vaccine can and does save lives.