COVID: Health Ministry to set up Green Pass Exceptions Committee

30 million rapid test kits for children are on the way to Israel, PM Bennett said. Some 505 patients were in serious condition as of Tuesday, 200 less than two weeks before.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the coronavirus cabinet meeting, October 5, 2021. (photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL, ALEX KOLOMOISKY/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the coronavirus cabinet meeting, October 5, 2021.
(photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL, ALEX KOLOMOISKY/FLASH90)

The Health Ministry is working to set up a Green Pass Exception Committee, Head of Public Health Service Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said Tuesday, while the new Green Pass system continues to present technical glitches two days after it came into effect.

Speaking to the Knesset Health Committee, Alroy-Preis said that the new body will examine the situations of those who cannot be vaccinated with a booster because they suffered from serious side effects after the second shot. According to a report by Channel 12, some 2,000 Israelis are in this situation. They will be able to apply to the committee and receive a Green Pass.

Currently, those who have not been able to get vaccinated at all for health reasons cannot obtain a permanent Green Pass but only a temporary one by undergoing a test – but contrary to what happens for other unvaccinated individuals, the cost of the test is covered by the state as are those for children under 12 who also cannot be inoculated.

Since Sunday, only individuals who have received a booster, were vaccinated twice or recovered in the previous six months or got one shot after recovering are eligible for the Green Pass, which grants access to several venues and activities as well as some workplaces.

However, the Health Ministry’s Traffic Light website and app where Israelis can download the documentation continue to present technical problems. In addition, according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, those who have recovered are often denied the pass by the system with a message that they do not meet the criteria.

 Health worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary Clalit health care center in Jerusalem, October 3, 2021.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Health worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary Clalit health care center in Jerusalem, October 3, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Also on Tuesday, while opening the coronavirus cabinet meeting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that 30 million coronavirus rapid test kits are en route to Israel.

The kits are going to be instrumental in allowing a change to the isolation rules within the education system. According to the plan, children are going to be tested regularly in order to identify those infected quickly and avoid outbreaks in schools. In addition, if they are exposed to a verified case, students will be checked every day for a week – with a PCR at the beginning and at the end of the period, and with rapid tests for the days in between – and won’t have to quarantine unless they receive a positive result.

“In the fight against the coronavirus, it seems that at this stage we have the upper hand,” Bennett said. “All the parameters show a gradual decrease in morbidity.”

“The rate of people testing positive is declining, the number of serious patients dropped significantly from 700 to about 500 this morning and day after day, corona wards in several hospitals are in the process of closing – all without a single day of lockdown and without sweeping and destructive restrictions” he added.

Indeed, 3,186 new cases were identified on Monday, with 2.7% of the 126,000 people screened resulting positive – the lowest percentage since July.

Some 505 patients were in serious condition, 200 less than two weeks prior.

As of Tuesday, the reproduction rate, or R, had also remained below 0.8 for several days.

The rate measures how many people each virus carrier infects and it mirrors a situation of about ten days earlier. When it stands below 1, the disease is considered to be receding.

“This time, despite the overall positive direction, we must not become complacent in the face of this elusive virus,” Bennett warned.