Coronavirus ward (illustrative)
Coronavirus ward (illustrative)David Cohen/Flash90

An emergency meeting to discuss the soaring number of coronavirus cases adjourned Tuesday evening, with top Israeli officials proposing a series of additional steps to reduce the coronavirus infection rate.

The meeting, led by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, was attended by Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), the Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash, Head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, Coronavirus Commissioner Professor Salman Zarka, and professionals from both the Finance and Health ministries.

Included in the new recommendations are the application of the Green Pass program to all of Israel's businesses. Under the expanded Green Pass, everyone aged three and above would need to present proof of recovery, vaccination, or a recent negative coronavirus test. Mass testing would be conducted around the country, for the purpose of identifying infected individuals and quarantining them, in an attempt to break the chain of infection.

The Green Pass program would apply to the vast majority of Israel's businesses and public and private institutions, including, among others: swimming pools, gyms, academic institutions, all cultural and sports events, all conferences and exhibitions, museums, libraries, restaurants, hotels, and more.

Payment for the testing will be as follows: Children ages 0-3 years of age are exempt from the Green Pass; from age 3-12, testing will be funded by the government; for ages 12 and up, testing will be paid for privately by the individual, if she or he has chosen not to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Rapid tests will be valid for a period of 24 hours, while traditional PCR tests will be valid for 72 hours.

In the coming days, there will be a significant increase in the availability of rapid coronavirus tests, in order to allow as many people as possible to access the tests.

The date for enforcing the new Green Pass rules will be decided on Wednesday, in accordance with the preparations for the implementation of the rapid testing system; there are already 150 locations for rapid testing around the country, and the plan is to at least double that number.

It was also decided to recommend that events at private homes and similar locations, where the Green Pass rules do not apply, be required to limit gatherings as follows: up to 50 people in enclosed spaces, and up to 100 people in open areas.

The Coronavirus Cabinet will meet Wednesday to discuss the recommendations and approve them.

On Sunday, the Green Pass restrictions were expanded to include all gatherings of any size, whether indoor or outdoor. it also required government offices and public sector employers to reduce the number of people working in office to 50%, with the remainder working from home.

In addition, vaccinated adults caring for coronavirus patients under 12, or other helpless individuals, are required to quarantine.