Vaccine Passports Are Back in Israel

Vaccine passports are back in Israel, little more than 11 weeks after Jerusalem-based writer Arieh Kovler wrote in the Spectator: “The scaremongers who said that vaccine certificates would be some lasting form of social control were wrong.” From today, Israelis over the age of three must show proof of vaccination against Covid or of a negative test to be allowed into indoor public spaces, except for malls and stores. Mask mandates are also back, including for large outdoor gatherings. Haaretz has the story.

Children between the ages of three and 12 will be entitled to receive free rapid antigen swab tests. Those aged 12 and up who are not vaccinated will have to pay for their own tests. Around 220 testing stations will operate throughout the country to carry out these tests, and more will be added according to demand, the Health Ministry said. Results from the rapid antigen swab tests are available in 15 minutes, and a negative result grants a Green Pass valid for 24 hours.

The requirement to present proof of immunity will be applied in most sectors of the economy and public and private institutions, including swimming pools, gyms, academic institutions, all cultural and sporting events, conferences and exhibitions, museums, libraries, restaurants, and hotels. 

However, the Green Pass will not apply to summer school programs, so that parents will not have to test their children every day as a condition of participation.

Starting Wednesday, the number of participants at events will be limited to 1,000 people in enclosed spaces and 5,000 at outdoor events without assigned seating. At events in private homes, where proof of immunity won’t be required, the attendance limit will be set at 50 in enclosed spaces and at 100 in open ones. There will be no limit on crowd sizes at events with assigned seating, but these events will also require proof of immunity.

The renewed requirement for vaccine passport checks comes amid fears over the Delta Covid variant, reports the Guardian.

After its launch in December, Israel’s widely praised vaccination drive helped to drastically bring down infections. But that trend has since reversed, driven by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, with restrictions that were lifted in June reimposed since July. …

About one million Israelis have not been vaccinated even though they are eligible.

According to the Health Ministry, more than 8,700 people tested positive for Covid on Tuesday, the highest number for a single day since January.

The Haaretz report is worth reading in full.

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