Enforcement of the new Green Passport began today and will be stepped up around the country in an effort to bar entry to some venues for Israelis who have had fewer than three shots or have not recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months.
The new vaccine ID contains a QR code which venues are required to scan and match to the user's personal identity card. Without a Green Passport, Israelis cannot enter facilities such as universities, museums, sporting events, restaurants, gyms and hotels to name a few.
Some restrictions are set to loosen, according to Hebrew media reports that were not yet confirmed by the government. The Coronavirus Cabinet will supposedly lift the ban on outdoor attractions, outdoor dining and pools starting next week, Channel 12 reported.
However, today enforcement began in earnest. Merchants in Jerusalem's Old City told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that police were going store to store making sure that each one had a sign saying the masks are required indoors. The same was happening on the popular Ben Yehuda Street in the city center.
On Sunday, the Green Passport held by an estimated 2 million Israelis expired. Now Israelis must have received their third shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated. A total of 3,672,418 Israelis have received three shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, the only vaccine available in the country. Some 5.6 million have received their second dose while 6.1 million Israelis have received one dose.
The revival of the Green Passport – which also allows for a valid negative test for unvaccinated including those under 12 – was designed to "boost" the booster campaign which began in late July as COVID infections began to surge again. Israel is considered one of the world's most vaccinated countries and was the first to open up the third dose to all age groups even while the FDA has only recommended it for people 65 and up.
The loosening of the restrictions, expected next week, coincides with a decrease in morbidity. The number of people hospitalized in serious condition with COVID is now 472.
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS