More than 49% of Israeli people received Covid-19 vaccine
International desk || shiningbd
Israel is easing lockdown restrictions as studies there reveal the Pfizer vaccine is 98.9% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death.
From Sunday, shops, libraries and museums can open but social distancing and masks are still required. The health ministry says it is the first stage of returning to normal life.
Israel has the highest vaccination rate in the world. More than 49% of people have received at least one dose. The country entered its third lockdown on 27 December after a resurgence of the virus.
Under the easing measures, people are now able to enter shopping malls and tourist attractions such as zoos.
A number of other facilities are now able to reopen including gyms, hotels, and synagogues. However, they require a "green passport", a certificate that can only be obtained once you have been vaccinated. A small number of people who have recovered from the virus and are not currently eligible for the vaccine are also able to obtain the certificate.
The passport, which is contained in an app, is issued by the health ministry and will be valid for six months, one week after the second dose.
Crowds are now allowed back at concerts and sporting events have reopened at 75% capacity but they have a cap of no more than 300 people inside and 500 outside.
Despite the easing of restrictions, Israel's airport will remain closed for another two weeks.