Cabinet removes remaining ‘red’ countries, allowing Israelis to travel anywhere
The cabinet voted on Friday to remove Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil from the list of countries considered to have particularly high coronavirus infection rates.
The updated Israeli travel guidelines related to COVID, recommended by the Ministry of Health, will go into effect on Monday, and will mean that there will be no more countries on the list of “red” countries.
Israelis will then be able to travel to any country – depending on that country’s limitations – with minimal restrictions upon return.
Current guidelines state that Green Pass holders arriving from countries designated as orange or yellow must self-isolate for 24 hours or until receiving a negative test result. Unvaccinated people – or those whose vaccine protection has faded – should always be quarantined for a full week.
The number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide continued to decline, with 3.6 million new cases reported worldwide two weeks ago, up from 4 million new infections the week before, the organization said. world health.
On Thursday, 69 people returning to Israel were diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these, 41 had been vaccinated but 37 had been vaccinated more than six months ago.
Health officials have identified that COVID antibodies decline several months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine used almost exclusively in Israel, which led the country to begin a booster campaign on August 1.
According to data from the Ministry of Health released on Friday, more than 6 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, 5.6 million have received two doses and 3.4 million have received a booster.
At the same time, figures from the ministry showed that 4,313 new infections were diagnosed as of Thursday, also continuing a slow downward trend in Israel. The test positivity rate was also down, at 3.81%.
On Sunday, all existing green passes will be revoked and Israelis will have to receive new ones. These will now only be available to those whose protection is deemed to still be in effect. People who received two doses more than six months ago will not be eligible for the pass unless they receive a booster.
Kan News reported on Friday that several ministers opposed the new requirement that all passes must now be scanned at venues using their QR codes. The measure aims to make the passes more difficult to tamper with.
Kan said Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Justice Minister Gideon Saar and Blue and White party ministers all said the new policy needed further consideration and explanation to the public.
Elkin told Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that since the coronavirus cabinet meets on Sunday anyway, and since “there is no particular urgency here,” there was no reason to rush the decision requiring the scanning of barcodes during a telephone vote.
Ministers ultimately voted to approve the decision, but agreed to hold another vote on the matter at the coronavirus cabinet meeting on Sunday.
In a separate meeting Friday between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior education officials, the parties agreed that teachers who have not been vaccinated with all three doses will not be able to renew their green passes.
However, during a two-week period ending October 17, teachers will be able to get an immediate renewal of their Green Pass if they receive a reminder and won’t have to wait seven days like the others.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, 36% of teachers have not yet received the third dose of the vaccine. However, education ministry officials believe that figure will drop over the coming week.
Teachers who do not wish to vaccinate can continue to teach as long as they get tested every few days. Those who refuse to do so will not be admitted to schools.
In addition, Bennett asked education officials to expand an ongoing pilot program in which students are tested for the coronavirus daily using rapid tests, rather than PCR tests.
Several other models that include PCR testing are also under consideration as the government seeks to limit the number of students in quarantine, while keeping schools open as much as possible.