Israel to reintroduce COVID-19 ‘Green Pass’ if Delta variant strikes

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Israel announced plans on Thursday to allow only people deemed immune to COVID-19 or who have recently tested negative access to some public spaces such as restaurants, gyms and synagogues following a spate of coronavirus cases.

The government had lifted most coronavirus restrictions after a rapid vaccination campaign that cut infections and deaths.

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The easing of restrictions included the dropping of a “Green Pass” program that would allow only people who had been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to enter some public areas.

But some measures have already been reinstated, including wearing protective masks indoors and stricter entry requirements for inbound travelers, due to the rapid spread of the more contagious Delta strain of coronavirus.

In a further tightening of measures, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said the Green Pass program will be back in force from July 29, pending government approval.

“The (Green Pass) applies to cultural and sporting events, gyms, restaurants and dining halls, conferences, tourist attractions and places of worship,” Bennett’s office said in a statement following a meeting of his “coronavirus cabinet.”

Entry to events with more than 100 attendees is only allowed for “vaccinated, recovering, and those with a negative test result 12 years and older.”

Under what Bennett calls a “soft suppression” policy, his administration wants Israelis to learn to live with the virus — with as few restrictions as possible and avoiding a fourth national lockdown that could further harm the economy.

More than 56 percent of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have been fully vaccinated and the number of serious cases has remained lower than during previous waves of infection.

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