JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday that Israel is dropping more COVID restrictions as the Omicron wave continues to recede.
“Earlier today I held a discussion with the Health Minister and various professionals. We are stopping the use of the Green Pass and soon we will announce additional measures to ease restrictions,” his office said in a statement.
The Green Pass is Israel’s proof of immunization and it allows citizens to enter many indoor venues and large gatherings if they are vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the virus in the last six months, or tested negative in the last 72 hours. It was launched in February 2021 to reopen Israel’s economy and keep infection rates low.
Most Green Pass rules have been lifted in recent weeks, but this decision would cancel it altogether as of March 1.
"The Omicron wave is breaking. There is a steep decline in the number of serious verified cases,” said Bennett. “Just as we were the first to take action and close the skies at the start of the wave, now we are gradually relaxing the restrictions.”
A day earlier, the Health Ministry recommended easing travel restrictions for incoming travelers.
This includes ending the mandatory quarantine requirement for Israeli citizens returning from travel abroad, even if they are unvaccinated.
The ministry also recommended scrapping the requirement that incoming travelers present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight to Israel. Instead, they will just be tested upon arriving in Israel to help health officials keep track of new variants, Israeli media reported.
Non-Israeli children under the age of 12 will be allowed to enter the country if their parents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, they will be tested upon arrival and required to quarantine until they receive a negative result.
Unvaccinated non-Israeli citizens over the age of 12 will not be allowed in the country, the ministry said.
Health leaders are also recommending lifting the requirement that people present proof of vaccination, a certificate of recovery, or a recent negative COVID test at mass gatherings as of March 1.
For now, masks must still be worn in all indoor areas.
The recommendations are still subject to final government approval.