Israel has started enforcing its ‘Green Pass’ restrictions, limiting entry to various public venues only to people who have received a third Covid-19 booster shot.
The enforcement of the Green Pass, part of the Israeli government’s plan to fight the coronavirus, started on Sunday after more than two weeks of delay, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the new guidelines, a person will have to receive a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine in order to be considered fully vaccinated and be eligible to receive the Green Pass.
People who have recently recuperated are also eligible.
The Green Pass is a barcode valid for six months that enables entry to various venues, including restaurants, cafes, bars, cultural and sporting events, cinemas, weddings, gyms, conferences and hotels.
In order to comply with the new rules, these venues are now obliged to scan QR codes before allowing entry.
The enforcement of the Green Pass was supposed to begin on October 3 but was postponed over “technical difficulties”, according to the Health Ministry.
The move comes amid a sharp drop in new infections and severe illness in Israel, with a decrease of about 80 per cent in the number of daily cases since early September.
After a peak of 766 severe cases in late August, the number dropped to 388 on Sunday.
“It is possible to say with caution that we are defeating the fourth wave,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
However, he warned that the current outbreak, driven by the quick spread of the Delta variant, is not over yet.
“We are not taking the foot off the gas and are not taking off the masks… We are continuing to see to full stocks of vaccines and tests,” Bennett said.
He also noted that the Israeli government is preparing for a possible another coronavirus wave.
“We are preparing the infrastructure for the Omega scenario, the code name for a new variant, and of course, we are preparing for the winter, for a combination of flu and the coronavirus,” he said.
The Green Pass is widely seen in Israel as a tool to encourage people to receive the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The government has based its strategy to tackle the current fourth wave on large-scale vaccination rollout.
So far, some 41 per cent of the country’s 9.3 million people have received the third dose, according to official figures.