COVID-19 Restrictions Loosen in Israel as Vaccination Roll-out Continues
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on in the rest of the world, Israel continues to loosen restrictions regarding the virus. One area in particular that Israel had been extremely strict about was the airport and restricting travel to and from the country. However, those restrictions have loosened as the COVID-19 situation in Israel has improved. One key reason for the improvement is because Israel has been extremely efficient in administering the vaccine to the entire population. As of mid-May, with over 5,000,000 people fully vaccinated and over 10,000,000 receiving at least one dose, Israel had the second most people vaccinated per capita out of any country. The title of most people vaccinated per capita belonged to the United Arab Emirates.
While the vaccine distribution in Israel has been extremely successful, there has been some resistance, mostly from ultra-Orthodox Jews in the country. In order to get past this resistance, Israel attempted to remove false rumors about the vaccine and work with members of the ultra-Orthodox community to convince others in their community to get vaccinated. Aside from the resistance to the vaccine, Israel has set some standards about returning to the workplace for those who are and aren’t vaccinated. In one case, a make-up artist in Tel Aviv was told not to return to work because of not being vaccinated. This frustrated the artist who even called it discrimination. Israel has established a green pass for those who are vaccinated which allows them to go to restaurants and concerts, and to travel to places like Greece and Cyprus. While the majority of the country is vaccinated, those who aren’t cannot partake in such things and it has frustrated them. While some decided to forgo their resistance to the vaccine, there are still those who will not get vaccinated and are feeling left behind.
While at first Israel was extremely strict with its COVID-19 restrictions and received plenty of scrutiny for it, things have gotten far better as the vaccination roll-out continues and the restrictions begin to diminish. Bars, schools, restaurants, and several other indoor spaces have reopened to the public with mask wearing. This is a sign of Israel’s return to normalcy as a direct result of its success in administering the vaccine to its people. Going forward, there will still be COVID-19 cases every day in the country but nothing near what it was during the height of the pandemic. Currently, the country is experiencing just a few hundred cases per day as opposed to the thousands they were experiencing per day from July 2020 up until the end of March 2021. With restrictions loosening, Israel will continue enforcing mask wearing in public spaces in order to keep cases down and allow the country to get rid of even more restrictions.