The government had removed most restrictions on coronaviruses after a rapid vaccination campaign that brought down infections and deaths.
The easing of restrictions included the dropping of a “Green Pass” program that had only allowed people vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to enter certain public spaces.
But some measures have already been reinstated, including wearing protective masks indoors and stricter entry requirements for inbound travelers, due to the rapid spread of the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
In a further tightening of measures, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said on Thursday that the Green Pass program would be back in effect from July 29, pending government approval.
“The (Green Pass) will apply to cultural and sporting events, gymnasiums, restaurants and dining halls, conferences, tourist attractions and places of worship,” Bennett’s office said in a statement after a meeting of his. “Coronavirus cabinet”.
Entrance to events with more than 100 participants will only be allowed for “vaccinated, cured and those with negative test results aged 12 and over”.
As part of what Bennett calls a “soft suppression” policy, his government wants Israelis to learn to live with the virus – involving as few restrictions as possible and avoiding a fourth national lockdown that could further hurt the economy.
Additionally, Israel’s coronavirus task force has recommended expanding the list of so-called “red countries” where travel will be restricted without special permission.
That list now includes the UK, Georgia, Cyprus and Turkey, joining a group that already included South Africa, India and Mexico.
About 62% of Israel’s 9.3 million people have already received their first coronavirus vaccination, and more than 56% have also received the second dose.
However, Israel has been criticized for refusing to vaccinate most Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip, which is under a 14-year Israeli blockade.