John Swinney defends need for continued coronavirus lockdown
News of Israel’s ‘green pass’ system follows reports speculating about passports for pubs and shops being used to persuade younger people to get a jab. Nearly 50 percent of Israelis who have agreed to take the vaccine will be issued a pass a week after their second dose, according to reports.
From Sunday, the permit will be issued to vaccinated citizens. Pass holders will be able to access entertainment venues, hotels and gyms, as well as places of worship.
Hospitality businesses will be included in the programme from early March.
Tel Aviv is the best performer so far on vaccine rollout per head of population, followed by the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Bahrain. More than 40 percent of people in Israel have now had Covid jab.
But the initiative sparked controversy as a large portion of the population who have not been inoculated will be banned from using the services unless they can provide a negative COVID-19 test.
Children under 16 would also be excluded from entering the facilities as they are not allowed to take the jab.
Earlier this week, Israel’s health minister Yuli Edelstein taunted the move as the first phase in the roadmap to recovery.
He said: “The vaccinated and recovered will be able to enter gyms, events, hotels and synagogues that are registered under the Green Pass certificate from Sunday.
“This is how the first stage will look in the return to your almost normal lives.”
During the announcement of the “Green Pass”, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy urged Israelis to take the jab.
He said the inoculation drive was important to “exit where we are now, and renew activities and return to normalcy.”
Mr Levy added: “We should remember that the main benefit from vaccinating is the health of everyone.”
The Director-General also warned against attempting to falsify the document, adding there would be an “uncompromising” penalty for offenders.
He said: “Today we conducted a meeting with police officials on the subject of enforcing and issuing an uncompromising punishment against counterfeit Green Pass producers.”
One Israeli doctor told Sky News that persuading the country’s younger population to take the jab could become “a challenge”.
The source said: “It is always a challenge to convince a young person who knows that the risk of severe disease is very low to get vaccinated.”
He added: “When people don’t feel the stress or the need they hesitate.”
On Thursday, it emerged Israel had vaccinated 75 percent of its population, including first and second doses.