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Bigger concerts as pandemic ‘dies out’ in Israel

The Israeli government has signed off on plans to allow up to 10,000 people in the country’s largest outdoor venues, as a senior public health official said there is evidence Covid-19 is “dying out” in Israel following a successful vaccination drive.

As of today (8 April), seated events that do not serve food, including concerts and sporting events, may host up to 10,000 people outdoors and 4,000 inside. Non-seated events, and/or those where food is served, are restricted to 750 people, up from 500 at the time of writing.

Additionally, up to 100 people are now allowed to gather outside for private events, though the existing limit of 20 people indoors remains in place.

The new capacity limits will remain in place until 22 April, when they will be reviewed by Israel’s coronavirus cabinet.

“This allows us to open up the economy and give the green light for weddings, concerts and events”

All this is being made possible by Israel’s green pass programme, named for the documents issued to Israelis who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which has allowed concerts to restart where attendees can prove their vaccine status.

The new, looser limits apply only to those with green passes, though ministers have also eased restrictions for Israel’s Memorial Day (13–14 April), allowing families of the fallen who do not have the green pass to attend remembrance ceremonies.

Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Ministry of Health, said earlier this week that a jump in the R number – the reproduction rate of the coronavirus – in Israel from 0.52 to 0.78 is no cause for concern. “The pandemic is dying out,” she explained, “albeit at a slower pace. But as long as it [the R number] is below one, there is no room for concern.”

“Most of the localities in Israel have low morbidity. Meanwhile, there are almost no significant virus concentrations and no hotspots at all,” she added. “This allows us to open up the economy and give the green light for weddings, concerts and events, as well as gradually opening up the education system.”


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