Israel begins to resume as Covid-19 vaccination rate approaches 50%

Israel reopened Sunday in its economy on Sunday in what it called the beginning of a return to routine made possible by a Covid-19 vaccination that has reached nearly half the population.

While the shops were open to everyone, access to leisure facilities such as gyms and theaters was limited to the vaccinated or those who have recovered from the disease with suspected immunity, a so-called “Green Pass” status that is shown in a special health care app.

Social distance measures were still in place. Dance was banned in banquet halls and synagogues, mosques or churches were required to halve their normal number of worshipers.

Exactly one year after Israel’s first documented case of coronavirus, Sunday’s relief of curbs is part of a government plan to open up the economy to a greater extent next month, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is about to be re-elected.

Israel has administered at least one dose of the Pfizer Inc vaccine to more than 45% of the population of 9 million, says the Ministry of Health. The two-image regimen has reduced COVID-19 infections by 95.8%, according to data from the ministry.

The country has registered more than 740,000 cases and 5,500 deaths due to the disease, which has led to criticism of the Netanyahu government’s sometimes uneven enforcement of three national locks. It has promised that there will not be a fourth.

Elementary school students and students over the past two years of high school attended Sunday classes in Israeli cities that were found to have control over the frequency of infections. Middle schools will return next month, after almost a year of distance learning.