Virus czar warns of easing COVID restrictions too quickly, fearing 5th wave – .

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Virus czar warns of easing COVID restrictions too quickly, fearing 5th wave – .


National coronavirus tsar Salman Zarka said on Sunday that he did not yet plan to recommend easing the significant remaining COVID-19 restrictions, fearing a potential fifth wave of the virus.

“We are optimistic and we see the downward trend [of cases] continues, but the fourth wave is still here, ”Salman Zarka told Kan public radio.

“We also have a lesson to remember, to remind everyone: we got out of the third wave too quickly. We thought we had beaten the coronavirus, then the Delta variant came in the fourth wave, ”he said. “We have to do it slowly, carefully, keeping in mind [a potential] fifth wave, God forbid.

But the coronavirus cabinet is expected to approve the easing of a number of remaining restrictions in the coming days, according to Hebrew-language media.

Among the recommendations, officials would consider removing restrictions on large outdoor gatherings that set limits between 1,000 and 5,000 participants, and limits on event venues with 400 people in closed spaces and 500 in closed spaces. open spaces, once the average daily rate of new cases drops below 1,000.

Separately, the reported moves being considered could include removing the green pass requirement from gyms.

Illustration of the new Green Pass, in Jerusalem, October 4, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

Starting Sunday, sites and businesses that require a Green Pass to enter must scan permit QR codes before granting access to their holders, after weeks of technical difficulty implementing the new rules.

Each Green Pass holder’s QR code must now be scanned using a Department of Health app and compared to their credentials to verify that they can enter. The code is intended to make the passes more difficult to forge. Although QR codes have been around on the Green Pass since the inception of the system, which is designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, most companies have given up on scanning them for verification and often just wave people over with a swipe of their finger. quick eye.

The digitization requirement was due to start earlier this month, but due to technical difficulties with the issuance of new passes, after a policy change dictated that a COVID-19 recall is required six months after receiving the first two doses, a grace period was granted by the Ministry of Health.

People who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 can also get a temporary Green Pass with a negative virus test (valid for 72 hours). Such a test must be paid for privately unless the person in question is not eligible for vaccination.

Children are eligible for a Green Pass if they have tested negative for the coronavirus within the past 24 hours. (Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90)

Health ministry figures released Sunday morning showed 734 new cases were identified across the country the day before, up from more than 10,000 a day at the height of the wave in August and September. The rate of positive tests was 1.63% out of nearly 50,000 tests.

The number of severe cases was 388, including 157 on ventilators. The total death toll reached 7,983 on Sunday morning.

There were only two localities with over 500 active cases, both large cities – Jerusalem with 2,058 and Tel Aviv with 643 – while a month ago there were 16 cities with over 1,000 case. The total number of active cases fell to 19,587.

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