On Friday, Director-General of the Health Ministry Nachman Ash said that the fourth wave of COVID-19 appears to be coming to an end in Israel, which had begun in late June. According to Ash, Israel is on its way to a significant decline in infection rates, which would become apparent in the next couple of days. However, he did not that infection rates could go up because the schools have just reopened after the end of Jewish holidays. The Director-General said that it was difficult to predict and was undoubtedly a concern for the next few weeks. According to the government figures, the basic reproduction rate of the virus had declined to 0.72.
If this number is greater than one, it shows there is a rise in infection, while a figure below one indicates an abating outbreak. On Friday, the total number of patients in serious condition was around 607, which is the lowest it has been since late August. Thursday saw nine more people succumbing to the virus, which pushed up the death toll in the country to 7,761. As per ministry figures, the number of new cases diagnosed on Thursday were 4,313 in continuation with the downward trend. The testing positivity rate also declined to 3.81%.
On Sunday, around two million people in Israel would lose their Green Pass because most of them have not gotten the third booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, the police is also expected to increase enforcement at gatherings of proof of vaccine document, especially in cities where the rate of infection is high. The change was made to the policy as health officials disclosed that there is a decline in antibodies a few months after the second vaccine dose. The booster shot campaign was launched in Israel on August 1st, making it the first country to do so.
It was initially introduced for people over 60, but the eligibility age was gradually reduced. Eventually, the campaign was expanded to anyone aged 12 and above who had gotten the second shot at least five months ago. The validity of the pass starts from one week after getting the last required dose to six months after it. This document provides Israeli access to a number of public events and places, including museums and restaurants. Around 78,000 Israelis got a booster shot on Thursday, which is the highest daily rate recorded since the beginning of September.
However, with the change in policy from Sunday, these people will not receive their Green Pass until Thursday. A negative virus test can be used for getting a temporary Green Pass and the individual has to pay for the test, unless they are not eligible for vaccination. Furthermore, those who have recovered from COVID-19 will only receive a Green Pass with a validity of six months after confirmation of their recovery from October 16th. Patients who have recovered and received two doses of the vaccine are eligible for a Green Pass that will remain valid for six months, after official confirmation of their recovery.