By Erin Viner
Only 10% of the 153 patients listed in serious condition yesterday had received the 3rd “booster” vaccine dose.
Amid decline rates among the overall population of 9.3 million, Israel continues to lift limits aimed at curbing spread of the virus.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced new government instructions that are expected to take effect tomorrow following approval by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
“We decided on a series of measures to ease restrictions, mainly regarding the reduction of restrictions on outdoor gatherings due to our success in reducing the scope of the coronavirus to relatively low numbers,” said Prime Minister Bennett, while explaining, “We will continue to be cautious because abroad, mainly in Europe, there is currently a tsunami of coronavirus of unprecedented scope. We will continue to manage Israel in a close and careful manner, alongside measures to ease restrictions, in order to allow for the continuation of normal life.”
All restrictions on gatherings in open areas will be lifted, and masks will no longer be required at gatherings with over 100 participants in open areas.
In addition, “Green Pass” vaccination certificates will no longer be required for 1,000 people or fewer to worship or attend cultural and sports events in open areas, or crowds of up to 100 people seated indoors.
Green Pass remain in effect at closed event halls, although maximum occupancy is being increased from 400 to 600 participants. Event venues may hold events in open areas only without occupancy restrictions.
It is also expected that in the coming days, the Health Ministry will coordinate a new plan with the Knesset Education Committee and Ministries of Education, Culture and Sports to ease restrictions on the education system, including the resumption of cultural events in the nation’s schools.
“The Delta wave is on the decline, and the data show this very clearly,” said Health Minister Horowitz at a press conference yesterday, adding that “the decline we are seeing in morbidity data thanks to the booster is a testament to the end of the 4th wave.”
“This doesn’t indicate the end of the coronavirus, and this isn’t a graduation party,” Minister Horowitz nevertheless stressed, while underscoring that, the Health Ministry is “treating the waning of the wave as a kind of respite. We are assuming we might get to another wave and another wave, and we are preparing so that we are ready from all aspects.”
“Like we said at the onset of the 4th wave, the coronavirus will likely accompany us for a very long time,” he said, emphasizing that, “It’s not a cause for alarm. There will be another variant, and we will get through it with minimum harm to public health.”