Enforcement of scanning Green Pass’ QR codes starts Sunday, after tech issues

Serious COVID-19 cases fall to 382, and daily positive rate hovers at 1.6%; ministers set to meet Monday to discuss easing some remaining restrictions

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

Starting Sunday, venues and businesses that require a Green Pass for entry must scan the permits’ QR codes before granting access to their holders, following weeks of technical difficulties with getting the new rules off the ground.

Each Green Pass holder’s QR code must now be scanned using a Health Ministry app and compared to their IDs to verify they can enter. The code is intended to make the passes harder to fake.

Though QR codes have existed on the Green Pass since the inception of the system, which is designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, most businesses have forgone scanning them for verification and often simply wave people through with a cursory glance.

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

While some venues had been managing to scan the QR codes during the past week, it will be enforced starting Sunday, Channel 12 news reported.

Individuals who have not been vaccinated or who have not recovered from COVID-19 can also obtain 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 coronavirus in the last 24 hours. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Health Ministry figures published Saturday evening showed that 1,560 new cases were identified nationwide during the previous day, down from more than 10,000 a day at the height of the wave in August and September. The rate of positive tests was 1.6 percent out of over 100,000 tests.

The number of serious cases was 382, including 166 on ventilators. The overall death toll is nearing 8,000, reaching 7,983 as of Saturday night.

There were just two localities with more than 500 active cases — Jerusalem with 2,122, and Tel Aviv with 689 — while a month ago, there were 16 cities with over 1,000 cases. Total active cases fell to 19,797.

On Monday, health officials will meet to discuss easing further restrictions, according to Channel 12. The moves could include removing the Green Pass requirement from gyms, according to the network.

The officials will also meet to discuss a plan to reopen Israel to vaccinated tourists starting in November. But the potential plan could exclude Americans, Canadians and Brits at first, due to a lack of agreement on recognizing their vaccine certificates.

The vast majority of tourists have effectively been banned from entering Israel since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of last year. Under current regulations, tourists only began arriving in organized groups in May, though in a very limited capacity.

Additionally, first-degree relatives of Israeli citizens or residents can apply for permits to travel to the country.

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