Israel will not be extending the Green Pass regulations, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed on Thursday.
The decision was made in a meeting with senior health and other officials. The Green Pass is set to expire on March 1.
Green Pass restrictions had already been reduced earlier this month, such that Israelis no longer have to show their Green Pass, which indicates that they are vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative within the last 24 hours, in order to enter restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and hotels. However, a Green Pass is still required for large gatherings, such as those at event halls or dance clubs.
Experts had said that the Green Pass system was no longer relevant, given the infectiousness of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, they decided that antigen testing would continue to be required for those entering senior citizens’ facilities.
The officials are expected to convene again and announce additional easing of restrictions. A formal announcement is expected after all decisions are finalized.
Earlier in the week, the COVID-19 National Experts Committee convened on the same subject. The meeting notes, which were reviewed by JNS, also included recommendations to ease restrictions while continuing to stay prepared for any future wave.
“There was broad agreement among the participants to change the COVID policy given the low infection rates,” the experts said.
They recommended discontinuing the policy of testing before attending large gatherings, including at schools.
Currently, children are testing twice a week—on Sundays and Wednesdays.
The experts also recommended that people stop testing in general, if they are asymptomatic, except for those at high risk of developing severe infection.
On the other hand, the experts said, restrictions at Ben-Gurion Airport should remain in place, and that people should continue wearing masks in closed spaces.
Moreover, they stressed, no changes should be made unless there is a continual significant decrease in the daily number of new severe cases and the overall number of hospitalized patients. They also said that the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, should be monitored to ensure that it is not spreading and changing the morbidity trend.