מחלקת קורונה בבית חולים בלינסון
COVID ward at Rabin Medical Center
Photo: Moti Kimchi, Yariv Katz
COVID ward at Rabin Medical Center

Israel drops 'Green Passes' as Omicron infections wane

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says the wave has broken, however, parents would still be obliged to test their children for the virus twice a week; experts criticized the government for easing restrictions rather than taking more measures to slow Omicron

Reuters |
Published: 02.17.22, 17:41
Israel on Thursday dropped a "Green Pass" policy requiring proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test to enter some public venues, further rolling back restrictions as a wave of infections recedes.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • The highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus peaked in Israel towards the end of January with daily cases reaching record highs of some 85,000, but numbers have steadily declined since to around 21,000 by Wednesday.
    2 View gallery
    מחלקת קורונה בבית חולים בלינסון
    מחלקת קורונה בבית חולים בלינסון
    COVID ward at Rabin Medical Center
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi, Yariv Katz)
    "The wave has broken," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the start of a discussion with health officials on the state of the pandemic where he said Green Passes were being completely scrapped.
    The Green Pass rules had already been cut back on Feb 4. Since then, the digital document had to be shown to gain entry to venues like nightclubs and celebration halls.
    During its previous coronavirus wave, Israel adopted a "Living with COVID" policy. This has kept the economy and schools largely open, though some sectors suffered and classes were heavily disrupted by employees, customers pupils, and teachers falling ill or isolating.
    2 View gallery
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Sharon Zur, Mark Israel Salem)
    Bennett said parents would still be obliged to test their children for the virus twice a week with negative tests still required to visit care homes for the elderly.
    Though Omicron has caused proportionally fewer severe infections and deaths than previous strains of the virus, the sheer magnitude of the surge put Israel's healthcare system under strain, impacting the quality of care.
    Some scientists have criticized the government for easing restrictions over the past month rather than taking more measures to slow Omicron.
    Israel, with a population of 9.4 million, has logged around 3.5 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 9,700 deaths. Some experts estimate that up to half the population may have been infected by Omicron.
    Talkbacks for this article 0