tests being positive: the lowest since the beginning of January.
A wide range of businesses will re-open tomorrow (Sunday), with a 'green pass' to indicate vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 being necessary for access to gyms, hotels and swimming pools. Unfortunately, the green pass system is proving so popular that the website has crashed this evening, with the Health Ministry permitting vaccination certificates to be used in lieu of a pass.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has announced that schools will completely re-open from 7 March but, with Purim coming up this week has reiterated that gatherings are illegal. Meanwhile, he also delivered the news that many of us have been waiting for: vaccinated British tourists are likely to be able to visit the Holy Land this summer.
Israel has fallen again, to 16th place, for the number of coronavirus tests per million people (1,260,139), one place ahead of the UK (1,243,664). This compares to the disputed territories in 96th place (214,527).
After recent increases, Israel has finally fallen slightly, to 53rd, in deaths per million people (601 per million): a testament to the heroes of Magen David Adom and all those involved in the Israeli health system. At long last, the UK has dropped out of the top five, falling slightly to 6th place with 1,767 deaths per millionAlso impressive is the statistic for the disputed territories, with only 381 deaths per million people and which has fallen to 71st place in the list. Both Israelis and Palestinians are therefore much less likely to die of Covid-19 than the frequency of confirmed cases would suggest, whereas people in the UK are much more likely to die.
What about life in the disputed territories?
Cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been described as "excellent" by the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority has now received an initial supply of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, with i24 News reporting a claim by the Palestinian Authority that Israel has agreed to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who commute daily to work in Israel. This claim is supported by an interview which Health Minister Yuli Edelstein gave to ITV this week,
The impressive recovery rate of Palestinians (1.1 % death rate among reported cases, compared with 0.73 % in Israel and 2.6 % in the UK) is doubtless linked to the willingness of Israel to extend health care to even confirmed enemies of the nation such as Saeb Erekat, whose daughter pointedly thanked the "Arab doctors" treating him in hospital in Jerusalem, but not the Jewish medical staff or the country that tried to save his life.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians usually work in Israel, but many have lost jobs due to the economic downturn while others fear transmitting coronavirus to their families and neighbours when they return to the West Bank.