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Israel reopens economy with nearly half the country vaccinated against COVID-19

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Israel started rolling back COVID-19 restrictions as it began to reopen the economy Sunday — with almost half of the country now vaccinated.

Shops, museums, libraries and markets are now allowed to open to all Israelis following a two-month lockdown that began in late December.

But only those who have been vaccinated will be able to go to gyms, pools, movie theaters and restaurants.

They will have to show their “Green Pass,” which certifies they’ve received both doses of the vaccine at least a week prior.

Israelis will be able to show their status with a vaccination certificate or by downloading a Health Ministry app linked to their medical files.

The country has administered at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to more than 46 percent of its 9 million population, officials said.

In addition to reopening swaths of the economy, most grade and high schools have also been allowed to resume classes.

A woman receives a vaccination against COVID-19 as part of a Tel Aviv municipality initiative offering a free drink at a bar to residents getting the shot
A woman receives a vaccination against COVID-19 as part of a Tel Aviv municipality initiative offering a free drink at a bar to residents getting the shot
REUTERS

The entire education system is expected to return to normal by early March.

The government credited the easing of restrictions to its robust vaccine campaign.

“We are the first country in the world that is reviving itself thanks to the millions of vaccines we brought in,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. “Vaccinated? Get the Green Pass and get back to life.”

With the vaccination program in full force, the government has vowed that the latest mandates were the country’s third and final lockdown.

A man puts on a snorkle
People in Israel can only go to pools, gyms, movie theaters and restaurants if they have proof of being vaccinated for COVID-19
REUTERS

But Nachman Ash, a physician in charge of the country’s pandemic response, warned that another lockdown “is still possible.”

“I am not sure [if this was the last lockdown]. If people don’t adhere to the rules we may have to reintroduce restrictions, including lockdown,” Ash told Israel’s Army Radio.

“Half of the population is still not immune,” he added

With Post Wires

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