• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Virus Czar Warns against Quick Easing of COVID-19 Curbs

Oct 16, 2021

On Sunday, the national coronavirus czar of Israel, Salman Zarka said that he doesn’t plan on recommending any significant easing of the remaining coronavirus restrictions, due to the possibility of a fifth wave. He said that they could see the continuing downtrend in cases and were very optimistic, but the fourth wave isn’t gone completely. He added that they have a lesson to learn from the third wave and remind everyone else of it as well. The country exited the previous wave quickly and believed it had managed to defeat COVID-19, but then the fourth wave came with the Delta variant. 

Therefore, the coronavirus czar said that they had to take things slowly this time, bearing in mind that a fifth wave could also happen. However, according to media reports, the ministerial coronavirus cabinet that is scheduled for a meeting on Monday is expected to list a number of the remaining restrictions in the country. In the recommendations that will be made to the forum, officials are considering lifting the restrictions of 1,000 to 1,500 participants in outdoor gatherings and those on event halls of 500 and 400 people in open and closed spaces, respectively. These are expected to put into effect when the number of daily cases drops below 1,000.

It was also reported that the requirement of the Green Pass in gyms may also be abolished. Beginning on Sunday, businesses and venues that need a Green Pass for entry purposes will scan the QR codes on the permits before granting holders access. This comes after the new system had to go through weeks of technical issues. The QR code of every Green Pass holder has to be scanned through a Health Ministry app and it will also be compared to the holder’s ID before they are permitted to enter. Even though these QR codes have been on the Green Pass since the system was introduced, most businesses do not scan them.

Instead, they only gave the Green Pass a cursory glance before waving people through. The scanning had to begin earlier this month, but the Health Ministry gave a grace period because of technical difficulties involved in issuing them. This was because a change in policy indicated that people would be eligible for a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine after six months of getting the second dose. A temporary Green Pass can also be obtained by individuals who haven’t recovered from the coronavirus or haven’t gotten vaccinated. They just have to have a negative PCR test, which remains valid for 72 hours only.

They have to pay for the test on their own, unless they are not considered eligible for vaccination. On Sunday morning, the figures published by the Health Ministry showed that the total number of new cases on Saturday were 734. Of 50,000 tests conducted, only 1.63% had come back positive. As far as serious cases are concerned, this number was around 388 and this included 157 people on ventilators. As of Sunday morning, the death toll in Israel was 7,983. 

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