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June 1, 2021 9:01 am

Israel Announces Lifting of Nearly All Pandemic Restrictions

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Pedestrians wait to cross a street as Israel rescinds the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors in the latest return to relative normality, boosted by a mass-vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tel Aviv, Israel April 18, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen. – Israel’s government announced on Tuesday that it was lifting most public restrictions connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This decision was made against the background of the low morbidity data and the continuing downward trend in all indices that has continued over the past few weeks,” said Israel’s Health Ministry.

Israel is a world leader in terms of the percentage of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (56.7 percent). As of Monday, the number of new confirmed patients stood at just 15.

Israel is specifically cancelling restrictions related to its “Green Pass” and “Purple Badge” programs. The first applied to individuals and the second to businesses.

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As of Tuesday, individuals will no longer have to show a Green Pass when entering public spaces. The pass provided proof they had either been vaccinated or had recovered from the coronavirus.

Likewise, businesses will no longer have to meet the “Purple Badge” requirements, which involve a host of restrictions, from practicing strict hygiene to maintaining distance between workers to measuring the body temperature of employees at workplace entrances.

“All venues can operate as a matter of routine, without limiting the size of crowds, serving food and other special conditions set for the venue to operate,” said the Health Ministry.

However, the ministry warned that the lifting of restrictions did not mean the pandemic was over, and that certain restrictions needed to stay in place to reduce the possibility of a fresh outbreak.

These include wearing a mask in enclosed spaces, self-isolation for anyone who comes in contact with a verified COVID-19 carrier and isolation for returnees from high-risk countries, said the ministry.

A mandatory 72-hour coronavirus test remains in effect for travelers entering Israel, as well as a 14-day isolation rule. That stretch can be cut down to 10 days if two negative PCR tests are obtained, the second on the ninth day of isolation.

“It’s important to remember while the morbidity situation in Israel is very good, in the world corona is still present at high rates. Many countries are still facing high morbidity levels, and there is a constant risk of new variants spreading that could be more resistant to vaccines,” said the ministry.

“Therefore, along with the wide opening of the economy and the return to an almost complete routine of life within Israel, it is of paramount importance to strictly adhere to the restrictions associated with entry and exit from the country.”

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