Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Health care workers in Jerusalem take test samples of Israelis in a drive-through complex to check whether they have been infected with the coronavirus in Jerusalem, on August 10, 2021.

Israeli government officials are planning to impose increased COVID-19 restrictions on the country’s population in the hopes of stemming the runaway rise in coronavirus cases.

The centerpiece of the plan is the expansion of Green Pass requirements for nearly all Israeli venues, events and leisure activities.

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The Green Pass documents an individual’s completion of the two-shot vaccination series, proof of recovery from the coronavirus, and/or proof of a negative finding within the past 72 hours on a COVID-19 test.

The Green Pass is now going to be required at gyms, swimming pools, sporting and cultural events, conferences and exhibitions, academic institutions, museums, libraries, hotels and restaurants, among other venues.

The plan, already approved by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in consultation with senior health officials, is to be presented at a special meeting of the coronavirus cabinet on Wednesday.

Those attending the meeting in which the plan was discussed included Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, directors-general from the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Health Ministry Public Health Division director Sharon Alroy-Preis and other officials from the health and finance ministries.

Among the recommendations:

  • Expansion of the “Green Pass” mandate to include children ages three and up.
  • (Israeli government is to fund the COVID-19 testing for children aged 12 and under.)

  • Indoor gatherings to be capped at 50 participants, including in private homes.
  • Outdoor gatherings to be capped at 100 participants.
  • Indoor entertainment venues will be required to meet a new “Purple Badge” standard, restricting entries to to a ratio of one person for every seven square meters.
  • Nationwide public testing — already in place in some venues — is also recommended to help identify COVID-19 carriers and mandate them into enforced quarantine.

    Israel is facing the worst morbidity figures it has seen since early March.

    On Monday August 9, 6,275 Israelis tested positive for the coronavirus out of the 130,669 tests for the virus that were conducted, resulting in a 4.84 percent positivity rate — a full one percent higher than it was the previous day.

    It is the highest morbidity rate since early March 2021.

    Of the 648 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, 394 are listed in serious-to-critical condition; of those, 64 patients in critical condition are being maintained on ventilators for survival.

    Government officials are strongly urging Israel’s senior citizens ages 60 and above to get a third “booster” shot of coronavirus vaccine.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.