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Positive test rate remains below two percent

Israel to allow large Independence Day celebrations for the vaccinated

Health Ministry plans to restrict attendance at official state ceremonies next month, but allow other venues to host thousands as coronavirus cases continue to decline

Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical team cheer as an Israeli air-force acrobatic team flies over the hospital in Jerusalem on Israel's 72nd Independence Day on April 29, 2020, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical team cheer as an Israeli air-force acrobatic team flies over the hospital in Jerusalem on Israel's 72nd Independence Day on April 29, 2020, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As Israel’s coronavirus cases continue to plummet, officials will not impose new restrictions during the upcoming spring holidays and will authorize Independence Day and Memorial Day events to take place, according to the Health Ministry.

Gatherings on the Jewish holiday of Passover next week will be permitted to take place in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines — up to 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, according to the ministry.

The official state Memorial Day and Independence Day ceremonies on April 13-15 will be held, but with a smaller crowd than usual. All participants will also be required to carry a “Green Passport” — proof of vaccination with both anti-COVID-19 doses, or recovery from the virus.

Municipalities will be permitted to hold Independence Day celebrations for the vaccinated. In locales with limited risk of infection, depending on the size of the venue, up to 3,000 vaccinated people will be allowed to gather indoors, 5,000 outdoors.

Israeli soldiers during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv, April 28, 2020. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

In areas with a higher risk of infection, gatherings will be permitted for up to 300 indoors and 500 outdoors. The Health Ministry did not define what they consider “low,” or “high” risk of infection.

Israel’s serious COVID-19 cases dropped Wednesday to the lowest tally since December, as the country’s vaccination campaign kept striding forward, with more than 4.6 million citizens receiving both doses. There were 483 people in serious condition, including 218 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic 829,935 people in Israel have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, with 12,969 active patients as of Wednesday.

Of the 41,449 virus tests conducted on Tuesday, about 1.7% returned positive — amounting to 679 new cases, continuing the steep decline since January when the positive test rate reached over 10%.

Another 41 people died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with an additional 38 fatalities reported by Wednesday evening, bringing the toll to 6,154.

The virus’s basic reproduction number, representing the average number of people each virus carrier infects, was given as 0.59. Any figure under 1 means the outbreak is abating. The figure represents the situation as of 10 days ago due to the incubation period.

An Israeli receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection, at Clalit vaccination center in Jerusalem, on March 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s morbidity rates have continued to steadily decline as the country has been rolling back virus restrictions, which at their peak shuttered the entire education system, public venues, and most nonessential businesses.

Most of the education system has since reopened, along with much of the economy. Limited audiences have been allowed at sports and cultural venues, with the coronavirus cabinet recently approving increasing capacity at such events.

Recent infection figures represent a dramatic improvement over the past two months, credited chiefly to a successful vaccination campaign. The success comes despite more infectious virus variants proliferating and the gradual lifting of restrictions.

Ministry figures showed that so far 5,197,591 people, or 55.89 percent of the population, have received at least the first of two shots; of those, 4,633,186 have also had the second dose, amounting to 49.82% of the population. Over the past week, vaccine doses were administered to some 20,000-70,000 people a day.

Authorities are aiming to vaccinate the entire over-16 population by the end of April.

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