On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister had a meeting with Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, along with a number of other government officials for assessing the situation of the coronavirus in the country. After the meeting, the premier said that they would be looking into imposing additional restrictions on individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, the authorities will be monitoring for any violations made in the Green Pass requirements to ensure its strict enforcement. Previously, the police was authorized to issue a warning to the transgressors, but now they will be able to impose a fine straight away.
Currently, there are a number of activities and venues in Israel that are only accessible to those who have a Green Pass. There are certain professions and industries where people also need the document to go to work. A Green Pass can be temporarily granted to those who take the test and get a negative diagnoses, or to those who are protected against COVID-19. These include twice vaccinated people who have recovered from the virus in the last six months, or those who are vaccinated and have received a booster shot as well. Bennett also said that they would have a discussion related to travel restrictions later in the day.
On November 25th, South African scientists had announced that they suspected a highly mutated variant of the coronavirus was responsible for the major increase in morbidity in the country. This had prompted the Israeli government to impose a set of restrictions quickly. This included completely closing the country’s borders to foreign tourists and requiring all inbound travelers to quarantine for three days, even if fully vaccinated. They were also required to take a PCR test on the day of landing and one on the third day. In addition, almost 50 African countries were added to the red list, which means that Israelis cannot travel to them unless they get special permission from the government.
All those returning were previously required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days, with the first day in a coronavirus hotel until they get a negative PCR test. However, these measures are scheduled to expire on Sunday night and new ones will be imposed. Officials have already announced extension of the quarantine for 10 days and 14 days for Omicron carriers. Meanwhile, the past few weeks have seen an increase in morbidity in Israel, even though most of the cases are still because of the Delta variant.
So far, there have only been 21 cases of the Omicron variant in the country and there hasn’t been one after Monday. The Health Ministry said that 651 new cases had been diagnosed in the country on Wednesday and they had been 563 a week before. There was also an increase in the number of active cases in the past week from 5,300 to 5,900. They had been more than 80,000 at the peak of the fourth wave. At the same time, the number of patients in serious condition dropped below the 100 mark for the first time after July.