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Israel to bring back 'Green Pass' indicating vaccine and virus status

Israel's COVID-19 cases are increasing, but deaths remain at a historical low amid the spread of the delta variant.
A woman presents a vaccination book with three doses of COVID-19 vaccine recorded at Sheba Medical Center on July 14, 2021, in Ramat Gan, Israel.

The Green Pass is a digital pass available on cell phones that indicates a person’s status vis-a-vis COVID-19. To obtain the Green Pass, one must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, have proof of recovery from the coronavirus, or possess a negative PCR test from within the past 72 hours. Alternative proof of vaccinated status or recovery from the virus can be used as substitutes for the Green Pass, according to Israel’s Ministry of Health.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened his self-dubbed Coronavirus Cabinet on Thursday. During the meeting, the ministers decided to bring back the Green Pass for indoor and outdoor events with more than 100 participants who are 12 years old and older. The pass will not apply to events with 100 or fewer participants. The Green Pass will also be required for culture and sports events, gyms, restaurants, conferences, tourist attractions and houses of worship. The government did not note any capacity restrictions for these venues. The policy will take effect on July 29, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Israeli government launched the Green Pass system in February as it opened up amid its successful vaccination campaign. The requirement to show the pass at certain venues then ended in June. Israel has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with more than 60% of the population fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Oxford University-based Our World in Data.

COVID-19 cases are currently on the rise in Israel amid concerns about the more contagious delta strain. The approximately 1,300 cases a day at present is well below the high of more than 10,000 a day in January, however. Israel is also only averaging one virus-related death a day at present, according to data from Reuters.

Bennett’s Coronavirus Cabinet also announced that anyone attending a wedding must present the pass or alternative proof, and that unvaccinated people will need to pay for their own COVID-19 tests as of Aug. 8. People who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons will be exempt from this requirement, according to the statement.

Israel also plans to soon bar its citizens from traveling to the United Kingdom, Georgia, Cyprus and Turkey due to coronavirus-related concerns, The Times of Israel reported today.