The head of Israel's national coronavirus taskforce warned Wednesday that in order to curb the recent COVID surge, the government would have to bring back the Green Pass mandate in its original format and start vaccinating children at schools.
The government last week voted to reinstate the Green Pass mandate, which requires people to present a certificate of vaccination or recovery at entrance to public facilities, but unlike the previous times the order was implemented, this time it only applies to locations hosting over 100 people.
Prof. Ran Balicer told Ynet that bringing back the mandate in its initial format will not hurt businesses as was argued by the Finance Ministry during cabinet discussions on the matter.
"[Green Pass] does not restrict occupancy, it does not restrict activity. It just means that people who enter confined spaces must be vaccinated or recovered. If they have chosen not to get vaccinated, then they should do a test so they do not get infected," he said.
"This policy should be applied to all relevant businesses, not just those who host more than 100 people. An unvaccinated person can infect others even in a place that hosts 90 people."
The professor also implied he opposed Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton's policy of not introducing the vaccine drive into the education system.
"The vaccination campaign for children should also be accelerated, because they will surely be more exposed to infection when the school year begins, and it will be possible to vaccinate them in schools as well. Throughout generations, there have been vaccination campaigns in schools in Israel."
Israel started vaccinating 12-15 year olds last month and this week HMOs were instructed to vaccinate under 12s in exceptional circumstances.
Balicer added that ensuring a safe reopening of schools on September 1 is crucial to maintaining a daily routine for the rest of the country since schools serve as hotspots for virus outbreaks.