Israel Approves Scrapping Proof of COVID Vaccination for Most Venues

New COVID infections continue drop, but Israel's serious cases remain high

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Haaretz
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A coronavirus ward at Shamir Medical Center, in January.
A coronavirus ward at Shamir Medical Center, in January.Credit: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv
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Haaretz

The coronavirus cabinet dropped Friday the requirement to present a proof of vaccination for most places, effectively removing barriers to entry for the unvaccinated at hotels, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters as infections continue to fall.

"High-risk events" such as weddings and parties will still require a certificate. The decision will come into effect on February 7, subject to approval from the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

The cabinet also voted to extend the mask mandate in schools and the obligation to present a negative test every 48 hours for unvaccinated school staffers until March 1.

While infections are steadily declining, serious cases and the number of dead are persisting in the face of the downward trend, acording to Health Ministry data.

Israel logged 46,347 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, a significant decline from 60,537 cases on Wednesday and 74,369 at the start of the week.

However, as of Friday, the number of serious cases stood at 1,132, with 355 among them defined as in critical condition. These include 288 people on respirators and 18 attached to ECMO machines.

Although this represents a fall from 1,153 on Thursday, Israel has not yet seen a consistent drop in serious illness.

According to official data, the death toll rose to 9,080 on Friday, from 8,926 reported on Wednesday. Over the last seven days, 338 people have died.

The R number, representing the average number of people each carrier will go on to infect, plateaued on Friday at 0.9, after consistently declining since the beginning of January. The figure is based on data from the last ten days, and any number below 1 indicates declining spread of the virus.

There are currently 373,160 active cases in Israel, and 2,712,446 people have recovered.

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