מסיבת עיתונאים של בכירי מערכת הבריאות על סל התרופות
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz

Israel mulling scrapping Green Pass, health minister says

Nitzan Horowitz says though removal of mandate currently 'not on agenda,' but his ministry will review and adjust it according to developments of Omicron-driven infection wave; 'Reality of this pandemic changes constantly,' he says

Adir Yanko |
Published: 01.19.22, 18:10
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said Wednesday that his ministry is considering the proposal to scrap the Green Pass mandate over its possible ineffectiveness in the face of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Horowitz made the comments a day after Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said the rapid spread of the elusive Omicron variant renders the mandate obsolete, and has "no medical or epidemiological logic behind it".
    3 View gallery
    מסיבת עיתונאים של בכירי מערכת הבריאות על סל התרופות
    מסיבת עיתונאים של בכירי מערכת הבריאות על סל התרופות
    Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    "We examine the current COVID policies, and if necessary, we will adjust the guidelines to the current Omicron wave since the reality of this pandemic changes constantly," Horowitz said at a news conference.
    "This matter is not our current priority, but we do keep an open mind, always weighing pros and cons, as well as other recommendations. However, right now it's not on the agenda, but we are surely considering all options."
    Horowitz said the ministry is also examining easing the others restrictions along with the Green Pass mandate, which will be approved if necessary.
    3 View gallery
    התו הירוק
    התו הירוק
    Green Pass on a cellphone
    (Photo: EPA)
    The health minister also brushed off the criticism about the lack of COVID home tests in Israel and long lines in front of authorized testing centers.
    "The country invests a lot of money into this matter. Some 420,000 tests were performed on Tuesday alone, while millions of home tests have already been distributed across Israel. The last thing you can say is that the health system doesn't have enough tests. The country is doing everything it can as part of its effort to fight the pandemic.
    "There are many countries that stopped conducting tests at all, but we don't believe in this approach. That's why COVID tests are so important, and I certainly think that the health system can be proud of that," he added.
    3 View gallery
    תורים לבדיקות קורונה בהבימה תל אביב
    תורים לבדיקות קורונה בהבימה תל אביב
    Israelis wait in line in front of a COVID testing site in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    In the meantime, the Health Ministry has already held discussions on potential cancellation of the Green Pass mandate since the certificate's validity is expected to expire in February for many Israelis.
    But also because there is a leap in the number of people infected with the Omicron variant despite being vaccinated, and an increase in vaccinated patients being admitted to hospitals.
    The latest health experts' cabinet meeting recommended at this point to continue with the current policy of the Green Pass, however, they added that later on" the Green Pass could be replaced with the purple badge in some economy sectors".
    Talkbacks for this article 0