Israel decides to reimpose some restrictions amid resurgence of COVID-19 cases

Published August 4, 2021, 7:21 AM

by Xinhua

JERUSALEM — Israel’s anti-coronavirus cabinet decided on Tuesday to reimpose some restrictions to contain the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, while urging the public to get vaccinated.

An Israeli health worker administers a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine on a woman at the Maccabi Health Service in Jerusalem, on July 30, 2021, as Israel launches its campaign to give booster shots to people aged over 60. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

After a four-hour session, the cabinet said in a statement that, starting on Sunday, mask-wearing will be required for outdoor events that include more than 100 people.

The Green Pass, reimposed last Thursday on gatherings of more than 100 people, would be imposed also on events with less than 100 people. The pass allows only vaccinated persons the entry to gyms, concerts, synagogues, mosques, churches and other places.

Half of the staff in government offices and workplaces in the public sector will be working from home in order to decrease the number of people in the offices. The cabinet recommended the private sector shifting its entire workforce to a work-at-home format.

The cabinet also urged the public “to understand the situation” and “to stop shaking hands, stop hugging and kissing, and to avoid any unnecessary gathering in closed places.” The cabinet said that, as the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading quickly around the world, Israelis are urged to “avoid gatherings and get vaccinated. It also warned that more severe restrictions, including closure, will be imposed if the situation gets worse.

Earlier on Tuesday, a parliamentary committee decided to add 18 additional countries, including the United States, Greece, Egypt and Italy, to the list of “red countries.” Under the cabinet’s decision, “a total ban” will be imposed on flights to the “red countries.” About 57 percent of Israel’s 9 million population has been vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, mainly the Pfizer vaccine.

Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 3,460 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the tally of infections in the country to 882,391.

The death toll from the virus in Israel rose by nine to 6,495, while the number of active cases rose to 22,727, the highest since March 17, the ministry said.