Health Official: 55% of the Population Is in Red or Orange Zones

Police at a temporary checkpoint in Ashdod in September. (Flash90)

During Monday’s meeting of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Head of Public Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, said, “[Corona] vaccinations will not be mandatory and there won’t be any sanctions. Everyone will still be allowed to enter places after undergoing tests. People who are recovering will not be required to go into quarantine.”

“Currently, 55% of the country’s population is in red or orange zones,” she said. “The morbidity rates are increasing, and the biggest mistake would be to reach 9,000 confirmed cases and only ​then [take measures to] stop [the chain of infection]. There is no reason to end up in the same place again instead of learning from our past – just three months ago – and stop the [spread of the coronavirus].

“I understand the desire to open [the economy], but this leads to a rise in the morbidity rate, so we have to open cautiously, and I am not at all certain that opening commerce did not lead us to where we are now, along with the problems at Ben-Gurion Airport and mass weddings,” Dr. Alroy-Preis said, while stressing that the Health Ministry’s considerations when deciding what can reopen and what must remain closed “are in no way political.”

Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) said that since the eve of Sukkos the committee has been asking the Health Ministry to prepare a mechanism for issuing those who have recovered from corona a “green passport” that will grant a waiver of restrictions applied to curb the virus outbreak. Various restrictions should also be eased for those who are vaccinated against the coronavirus, he said.

The “green passport,” said Chairman Rabbi Asher, “is supposed to give the government a tool to reopen the economy in different areas. It will give people motivation to undergo tests. If someone wants to attend a cultural event, he can just show the passport. This will cause people to get tested, and the State will be able to identify chains of infection more easily. In addition, it will give the public an incentive to get vaccinated.”

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