Israel Starts Reopening as Vaccinations Near 50% of Population

Israel Starts Reopening as Vaccinations Near 50% of Population. Image: Pixabay

ISRAEL has begun reopening its businesses after nearly 50 per cent of its population has now received a vaccination.

Shops in Israel are now reopening to everyone, while gyms, hotels and theatres are only open to those who have had both doses of the vaccination more than a week before, or who have contracted Covid and recovered from it.

Those who fall into either camp receive a “Green Pass” status which they can display on a Health Ministry app.

Meanwhile, mask-wearing and other measures to control the virus are still in force, including a ban on dancing in banquet halls.

The reopenings come Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to open up the economy further next month.

He tweeted: “We are the first country in the world that is reviving itself thanks to the millions of vaccines we brought in.

“Vaccinated? Get the Green Pass and get back to life.”

Israel has administered at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to more than 46 per cent of its nine million population, according to the Health Ministry.

The country has seen more than 740,000 cases and 5,500 deaths from the illness, prompting criticism of the Netanyahu government’s handling of the pandemic.

The government has held three national lockdowns but has now ruled out a fourth.

However, Nachman Ash, a physician in charge of the country’s pandemic response, told Army Radio that another lockdown “is still possible … Half of the population is still not immune.”

According to the Health Ministry, the risk of illness from Covid has now dropped by 95.8 per cent among people who received both shots of the vaccine.

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Sally Underwood

Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.