A new Israeli initiative to permit vaccinated citizens to resume normal activities amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been postponed due to technical difficulties.
By Erin Viner
The country’s “Green Pass” program that permitted vaccinated citizens to enter public spaces was set to expire yesterday, and the public had been required to download replacement certificates from the Health Ministry.
An overload of requests applications is believed to have crashed the Ministry website (corona.health.gov.il/en/green-pass/) and its Traffic Light mobile app (downloaded onto users’ smartphones from Google Play or the Apple App Store), however; compelling officials to announce a 3-day delay in implementation.
The new system is being implemented due to waning efficacy of the vaccines against the infection. Once the updated Green Pass program takes effect, access to public facilities will only be granted to those who have been doubly or triply vaccinated, tested negative on PCR exams within 72 hours prior to entry or can produce negative rapid antigen test results within the past 24 hours.
Citizens must produce their identity cards along with the new Green Passes, which include a special QR code that can only be scanned via an official application to enter any public venues. These include restaurants, cafes, bars and dining halls, cultural and sporting events, country clubs, fitness centers, gyms, swimming pools, hotels, conferences, exhibitions, houses of worship with more than 50 worshippers, universities or other places of higher education, museums, libraries and amusement parks.
The passes will only remain valid for 6 months after an individual’s last vaccination. In order to meet requirements to obtain the new permits, Israelis must have been administered either 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine within the last 6 months. Individuals who caught the disease can acquire the passes for up to 6 months of their documented recoveries, although they must be vaccinated after that half-year to hold onto their permits.
All educators must be vaccinated 3 times to be eligible for the new Green Pass, or they must undergo routine testing.
No limitation will be placed on children under the age of 3. All other youth must either undergo PRC screening in order to qualify for a 1-week pass; or be given a 24-hour pass if they test negative after taking rapid antigen tests.
So far, at least 1.9 million Israelis have been administered at least 2 jabs of the vaccine against COVID-19.
The Israeli Police have been called on to heighten enforcement of the new health measure.
Meanwhile in related developments, Israel is set to drop its last restriction on international travel. The cabinet voted Friday to remove Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil from the list of so-called “red countries.”
According to current protocol, Green Pass holders returning from “orange” and “yellow” destinations are required to quarantine for 24 hours or until they have tested negative for the coronavirus. Unvaccinated Israelis must remain in isolation for a week.