In Israel, the government is introducing some stricter corona measures, such as a mouth mask obligation and a corona pass. After a quick vaccination campaign, most corona measures were lifted in May, but the delta variant is now also throwing a spanner in the works in Israel. In addition, the government hopes to convince the persistent vaccine refusers with the corona pass.
Israel very quickly approved the Pfizer vaccine and promptly became the vaccination champion in the world. That rapid vaccination campaign allowed the government to lift most of the corona measures in May. But two months later, the government has to tighten up again because the more contagious delta variant is also causing an increase in the number of new infections in Israel.
“It seemed that corona had been completely defeated here. Not very long ago, there were fewer than ten new infections a day here, but now there are more than a thousand again, and the number of hospital admissions is also slowly increasing,” says correspondent Ties Brock.
One of the new measures is reintroducing a corona pass, called the green pass in Israel. This means that only those who have been fully vaccinated, have taken a negative corona test or have antibodies due to having been through the disease will have access to all kinds of public places such as restaurants, gyms, swimming pools, places of worship and also places where more than a hundred people gather. Mouth masks are also mandatory again.
“The vast majority of Israel has been vaccinated, over 85 percent of adults, but there is still a small and persistent group who do not want to be vaccinated, and they also hope to persuade Prime Minister Bennett with this,” says Brock. “But the question is whether that will work because many people simply have very compelling reasons not to do it, be it religiously or from other convictions.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also gave a press conference last night, in which he lashed out in uncovered terms at the vaccine doubters and rejecters. “There are many countries where there are not enough vaccines for the population, and the public is begging for it. Here the Israeli government is investing billions to make the vaccines available to everyone, and yet 1 million Israelis simply refuse to be vaccinated.”
According to Bennett, those 1 million refusers endanger the rest of the country and ensure that those who have been vaccinated still have to adhere to several rules. And they may even cause the fourth lockdown. The prime minister also called on everyone who knows a vaccine refuser to convince them. “Explain to them that they are endangering the health of others. Don’t give up.”