JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel lifted nearly all of its COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday as the daily infection rate remains at virtually zero.
Now, Israelis will no longer need to use the proof of vaccination or recovery certificate known as the Green Pass to enter public venues like restaurants and gyms. The country also lifted restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
"Today is a very special day," said Hezi Levi, Israel's Health Ministry Director-General. "Now we are opening all the activity in Israel and no more green pass," he added.
Israelis are still required to wear masks indoors, but that mandate is expected to be lifted soon.
Israel has spent the last six months leading one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns, making it one of the few countries able to return to much of its pre-pandemic life.
More than 70 percent of Israelis aged 20 and above have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the government is set to approve the vaccination for Israelis age 12-15 soon.
"Israel won the corona, still corona is a disease but is a sporadic one,” said Prof. Ronni Gamzu Former coronavirus czar and head of Ichilov hospital. “We have won the epidemic and this is thanks to the Israelis that took the effort and put their trust and took the vaccination in the highest rate in the world. This is the spirit."
Israel also imposed strict lockdowns on its citizens, costing the country billions of shekels and virtually shutting down the tourism industry.
Israel began opening its doors to vaccinated tourists last month, but health officials are working to prevent any virus variants from entering the country.
Israelis who have not been vaccinated must still enter a quarantine period after returning home from abroad.
“We’re not thinking about an easing [of restrictions] at Ben Gurion Airport. We will continue to test those returning to Israel and isolate them,” Levi told Army Radio. “This is the place where quarantine is important as undetected sickness can bring the infection back to Israel.”
Israel has reported at least 839,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and 6,412 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
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