New COVID Restrictions Take Hold Amid Ongoing Surge

YERUSHALAYIM -
An MDA health worker tests a man during a presentation of the COVID-19 Rapid test on Sunday at the Magen David Adom headquarters in Yerushalayim. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Renewed coronavirus restrictions came into effect in Israel on Sunday as the government sought to slow the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

Restrictions include reinstituting Green Pass regulations, limiting access to indoor areas for people who cannot show proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID or a recent negative result of a coronavirus test.

Masks will also be required outdoors where more than 100 people congregate and workplaces must limit the number of on-site staff to no more than 50%. The new regulations will be enforced by the police.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday the prospect of a lockdown during the chagim depends on the rate of vaccination among those who have not already been fully jabbed against coronavirus and the over-60s who are now all eligible for a third booster shot.

“The future of the chagim depends on the number of vaccinated,” Bennett said. “If you want happy chagim, go get vaccinated.”

Meanwhile the government was expected to add dozens of countries to a list of destinations requiring returning travelers to quarantine, in its weekly Cabinet meeting, Sunday.

Ministers were also to discuss the possibility of postponing the start of the new school year, if contagion continues to rise.

The Health Ministry said that the number of seriously ill from COVID complications increased by 50 to 324, including 49 patients on ventilators.

A NIS 1,000 fine will be imposed on people violating Green Pass regulations, NIS 10,000 for a business found not applying the regulations on its premises, NIS 3,000 for a business that does not post a clear list of restrictions and NIS 1,000 on a business serving maskless customers indoors.