“It’s a pleasure to resume training!” Sportswear and protruding muscles, Tom John rushed to his gym in Tel Aviv on Sunday morning, which reopened its doors to people vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Hebrew state reopened shopping malls and street shops for the entire population on Sunday as part of its third deconfinement since the start of the pandemic.
“We hope this time it’s the right one!” says Mordehai Nazarian, 34, who opened his shoe store Katalina on King George Street in Tel Aviv after several months of closure. “We wait for people to arrive, we only ask to serve them,” said the energetic man, happy to return to work.
On the opposite sidewalk, the Haozen Hashlishit department store specializing in music has also reopened, to the delight of vinyl lovers.
“It’s been almost a year since I entered a record store, it feels good, I’m not looking for anything in particular, it’s just nice to be able to stroll here”, says Itay Shimon, 32, from the city. close to Ramat Gan.
While some places are open to everyone, others are reserved only for people with a “green badge”, meaning that they have received the second dose of vaccine for at least a week or that they are cured of the disease. disease.
Tom John duly checked in before showing up to his gym. The thirty-something connected to the application in his room and uploaded his “green badge”, the online certificate from the Ministry of Health proving in his case that he received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine / BioNTech, he told AFP.
“We press here to download the certificate of the green badge, and then we can return when we want”, shows the one who resumes training indoors after months of break.
“Everyone here has a green badge […]. I feel safe, the gym is careful, they clean the equipment, it’s not full as usual. There aren’t many people there, but I feel good and I’m happy to be back, ”he says, looking at the sparse room.
Ora Davidovicz, 90, is impatient at the entrance to the gym located in the heart of the Israeli metropolis.
“It’s been almost a year since I went to the pool, I’m impatient, I was counting the days because I love to swim,” she says.
“I brought a certificate that I was vaccinated […]. I just have to put on my swimsuit and go swimming. “
Netanyahu in the hall
More than 4.3 million Israelis (48% of the population) have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 2.9 million (32%) per second, as part of an agreement with pharmaceutical company Pfizer which supplies the country quickly in exchange for medical data on the effects of vaccination.
Israeli data released Friday and Saturday put the first dose at 85% effectiveness two to four weeks after it was inoculated, and show the vaccine to be over 95% effective two weeks after the second injection.
Jogging and black T-shirt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to a gym in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, inviting millions of Israelis with the “green card” to go to places open to vaccinated people.
“Anyone in possession of this green card can go to gyms, cinemas and soon, restaurants and airplanes,” he said, calling on the Israelis to be vaccinated.
Taking into account the duration of inoculation of the second dose and the people who have recovered from the disease, the Ministry of Health figures at 3.2 million the number of Israelis who can now obtain the pass, criticized by a part of the population who sees it as a form of discrimination against the unvaccinated.
After gyms, restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen from March 7, in the country which peaked at 10,000 cases per day in mid-January, but has dropped back to around 4,000 new cases daily.
More than 747,000 cases of COVID-19 have officially been recorded in Israel, including more than 5,500 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.
In the hope, authorities say, of limiting the spread of variants, the government banned international flights to and from Israel at the end of January, except cargo ships and a few exceptions.
The flights were to resume this weekend, but the authorities have extended the deadline to March 6.