FILE PHOTO: A woman receives a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a temporary Clalit healthcare maintenance organisation (HMO) centre, at a basketball court in Petah Tikva, Israel January 28, 2021 Photograph:( AFP )
From Tuesday through April 12, 300 Israelis will be allowed through Taba on the Red Sea each day
Israel on Tuesday reopened the Taba border post with Egypt that had been closed throughout the pandemic, allowing limited numbers to cross to the Sinai peninsula for Passover holidays.
The move was the latest step towards normalcy for Israel, which has fully vaccinated more than half of its roughly 9.3 million residents against coronavirus, the world's fastest per capita pace.
The number of serious coronavirus cases, which stood at 800 at the end of last month, has fallen to 467, according to the health ministry.
Distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel began in December, with eligibility extended to citizens and residents over the age of 16 - some 69 per cent of the 9.3 million population. People are deemed fully protected a week after receiving the second shot.
The Health Ministry said that 50.07 per cent of the overall population - or 72.5 per cent of the eligible population - had received both vaccine doses, while 55.96 per cent of the overall population have received the first dose.
From Tuesday through April 12, 300 Israelis will be allowed through Taba on the Red Sea each day.
To cross, individuals must be inoculated or have recovered from Covid-19. A negative laboratory test is also required in both directions.
Egypt's Sinai peninsula is a popular vacation spot for Israelis, especially during the Passover break which began over the weekend, but the pandemic has forced Taba's closure since March 2020.
Israel's successful vaccination rollout has been making gains against the virus.
Israel began easing a nationwide lockdown in late February. Most businesses and schools, as well as airports, have gradually resumed activity - with caps on capacity. The fully vaccinated, and then around 8.7 per cent of Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19 with presumed immunity, are issued with Health Ministry "Green Pass" certificates that confer access to various leisure venues.
Israel has seen an 85 per cent drop in daily COVID-19 deaths, a 72 per cent decrease in the critically ill and 86 per cent fewer daily cases since the pandemic's third peak in mid-January, according to data scientist Eran Segal of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science.