Israel reported 2,165 new coronavirus cases from Wednesday, with cases topping 2,000 for the third day in a row as the delta variant of the COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country. It was also reported that 2.35 percent of COVID tests were positive.
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The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition stands at 159, eight more than the day previous, according to health ministry data; of those, 33 are in critical condition and 26 are on ventilators.
In an effort to stanch the spread of the highly infectious variant, Israel reimposed various COVID restrictions on Thursday. The Green Pass – which shows that the bearer has been vaccinated, has recovered from COVID or presents a valid negative PCR test – will now be required in both open and enclosed spaces where there are more than 100 people. A Green Pass is not required for children under 12 years of age.
A Green Pass will be required at sports and cultural events, hotels and tourist attractions, gyms, restaurants, coffee shops, dining rooms, conferences and houses of worship.
Additionally, experts advising the Health Ministry have recommended that older people receive a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, after data suggested that the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing severe symptoms among 60-year-olds and above has dropped to 81 percent from 97 percent in January. However, experts disagree on whether the cohort should start at 60 years old, 65 or 70. The Health Ministry's director general, Nachman Ash, will make the final decision.