Coronavirus Commissioner Optimistic But Green Pass Stays

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka speaking at a press conference. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Coronavirus commissioner Salman Zarka held a press conference on Monday in which he presented the dual message which has become the mantra of health officials:

Things are getting better—but they could get worse again, so watch out.

“We are very optimistic about the decline of the positivity rate and of [patients in] serious condition and on ventilators,” Zarka said.

“Unfortunately, the hospitals are still very strained, but with the drop in morbidity we assess that in two weeks, the serious cases in hospitals will also drop,” he said.

“We are optimistic that we are exiting the fourth wave,” he said, but then came the pessimism—“but we’re not there yet. The danger still exists, the virus is still circulating, and we must be careful.”

As such, Israelis will have to go in living with one foot in the pandemic and one foot out.

“Our working assumption is that all over the world the virus is still running amok and there are still new variants,” Zarka said. “We need to be careful and see how we run our everyday lives so that, Heaven forbid, there isn’t a fifth wave.”

The Green Pass system, under which those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, or have recovered from the disease, are allowed to access to public venues, will continue for the foreseeable future.

“Canceling the Green Pass is not on the table,” he said. “The Green Pass is there to protect us and it will be part of daily life for weeks if not for months to come.”

As of Monday, there were 447 people in serious condition, including 186 on ventilators. On Sunday, 1,457 were newly diagnosed with COVID. Coronavirus morbidity has been on the decline in Israel over the past few weeks.