The war against Covid-19 has been a costly one, in all conceivable metrics, and looks set to drag on for months to come at a minimum. However, for one country at least, it seems that victory against the virus has already been declared and the struggles of the past are being left behind.
Building on the success of their vaccination campaign, Israel is set to remove all of its local Covid-19 restrictions from June 1st, in what a set to be a watershed moment in the global fight against the virus. Here’s what this will look like, and how the country has managed to achieve this feat.
Israel and Covid-19 – Background Information For Travelers
At the height of the pandemic in Israel, the 7-day daily case average sat just below 9,000, with the worst single day of the pandemic showing almost 12,000 infections at the end of January. Its deadliest day also came back in January, when 101 people died one day at the hands of the virus. However, Israel’s most recent figures make for much easier reading, with the daily case average down to just 20 – and it’s largely down to the vaccine.
From the moment that vaccines were available, Israel capitalized on the opportunity and hasn’t looked back. The country began its vaccination campaign in December 2020, with the Pfizer–BioNTech’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, and has vaccinated the majority of its population in an extremely short space of time. With 56.7% of the country’s population having received the full dose of the vaccine, Israel is leading the world in the race to vaccinate its population and is set to remove local restrictions as a result.
Israel’s Local Lockdown Ending – What Travelers Should Know
Like many countries have started to do, Israel took a positive step in the right direction last month by announcing that planned to allow vaccinated travelers to enter the country in the future. However, just last week the country took a giant leap of progress when they announced that they would be ending the local Covid-19 restrictions from June 1st following the success of their vaccination campaign.
Whilst the wearing of masks indoors is set to continue on for at least another two weeks, the change means that Israel’s “Purple Badge” and “Green Pass” restrictions – systems that offered vaccinated citizens certain privileges and determined the capacities of venues – are set to be a thing of the past, with no further caps of gatherings planned.
Speaking about the move, Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said:
“Israel is returning to routine. Less than six months ago, we started the vaccination campaign. Thanks to the excellent work of the workers in the health system… we carried out the best vaccination drive in the world. We have long been reaping our reward with low morbidity. Now, to my joy, the situation allows us to cancel the use of the Green Pass and the restrictions of the Purple Badge.”
Whilst it is news that will be warmly received in Israel, Edelstein also issued a warning that the restrictions could soon return should the situation worsen in the future.
Despite local restrictions easing, Israel’s international restrictions are set to remain, meaning the borders are set to remain closed to most types of incoming travel. Travel is only permitted for citizens of Israel, with foreign nationals only permitted entry in exceptional cases for the time being. The country recently allowed its first Birthright visitors to enter since the pandemic began, signaling that the policy could change in the near future.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com