Israel eases Covid restrictions after mass vaccination


Israel came closer to lifting COVID restrictions on Tuesday, as its case load remains small after an extensive nationwide vaccination campaign.

People are no longer required to show vaccination certificates to enter restaurants and entertainment venues, and capacity limits have been raised in companies.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said his office would discuss ending an interior mask requirement over the next two weeks.

“The Israeli economy and public may have a little more breathing space,” he said in a statement announcing the changes.

The country remains largely closed to foreign travelers, however, the tourism ministry said, except for first-degree relatives, some experts and vaccinated tourists participating in a pilot program.

On Tuesday, there were only four new positive cases of the virus, and 350 actively to Israel.

At the height of the epidemic in early 2021, Israel saw 10,000 new cases a day and 88,000 active cases.

The changes became possible after Israel obtained millions of doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. More than 90 percent of people in Israel aged 50 or older have been vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

Children continue to be required to wear masks to school, as children under 18 have not yet been vaccinated in large numbers.

Cases of COVID-19 among Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have also declined in recent weeks as vaccines from the Covax campaign have been distributed to the poorest countries.

Israel has faced criticism for refusing to vaccinate most Palestinians living in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, which is under the Israeli blockade. Israeli citizens living in West Bank settlements have been eligible to participate in their vaccination program.

Israel has said the Palestinian administrations in the West Bank and Gaza are responsible for obtaining the vaccines.

In Gaza, the response to the coronavirus has been hampered by 11 days of devastating Israeli airstrikes last month in retaliation for Hamas rocket fire from tensions in Jerusalem.

The only enclave laboratory testing COVID was struck in a strike and two doctors were killed in a bombing. Tens of thousands of people seeking refuge could not distance themselves socially.

Gaza registered 246 new cases of the virus on Monday, while the West Bank registered 56.

Palestinians launch vaccines as virus cases increase

© 2021 AFP

Citation: Israel Relieves Covid Restrictions After Mass Vaccination (2021, June 1) Retrieved June 1, 2021 from .html

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