All children under the age of 16, including babies, cannot leave Israel without the approval of a special governmental committee, Public Health Services head Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis confirmed on Tuesday in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post, as the number of serious patients dropped to 660, the lowest since December.
While since Sunday, all people who are vaccinated or have recovered can travel without permission, all those who aren’t cannot. The committee grants permission only in special cases and for humanitarian reasons.
Alroy-Preis also said that the Health Ministry is working round the clock to set up a system of rapid testing in order to allow those who are not vaccinated or have not recovered from the virus to receive a temporary green passport, in order to allow them to access venues which at the moment are reserved to those who are considered fully immunized, including cultural and sports events.
Earlier in the day, addressing the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee, she expressed hope that the system will be ready within two weeks.
The committee approved today the latest round of coronavirus regulations, including guidelines for restaurants, the culture sector and the airport.
Answering questions from the committee’ members, Alroy-Preis also said that anyone who undergoes a serological test and is found with antibodies can receive a green passport.
For the past two weeks, those who enter the country after being vaccinated abroad have been given the right to do such a test in one of the labs accredited by the Health Ministry, in order to avoid mandatory quarantine.
During the meeting, Alroy-Preis explained that the solution can also give people the right to receive a certificate from the ministry and the green passport.
Among others, the option might be relevant for those who believed they had COVID but never officially tested positive or recovered, including children.
Some 3,646 new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in Israel on Monday, with just 3.9% of the 95,000 tests performed returning positive, according to a Tuesday update by the ministry. The figure is similar to the one of previous weekdays.
As of Tuesday night, the number of patients in serious conditions dropped to 660, the lowest since December. Some 217 of them were on ventilators.
Also the R rate, measuring the ability of the disease to spread stood at 0.95, marking the second consecutive day with a decrease.
Since the beginning of the pandemic some 5,926 people have succumbed to the virus in Israel.
On the vaccination front, about 5.02 million Israelis have received at least one shot and some 3.9 million both.
“The coronavirus is not behind us,” Alroy-Preis said during the press conference, but she added that she hoped that the number continued to be encouraging and Israelis can have a quasi-normal life even as COVID is still present in the country.
The official explained that the Health Ministry is also working on a system to ensure that schools can remain open as much as possible, while the number of schoolchildren who test positive or who have to enter isolation due to exposure to a patient continues to grow.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry published an update about the localities which are going to be allowed to reopen schools on Sunday, and those which will need to go back to remote learning, according to the traffic light program. The former include Dimona and certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the latter certain neighborhoods in Bnei Brak and Beersheba.