In Israel, people who have a so-called “green passport” – a document proving that they have taken two doses of the Cocid-19 vaccine – can now feel freedom back, even with some restrictions. They are allowed to frequent indoor bars and restaurants, games, concerts and more. With a mask, of course. In the United Kingdom, the government has announced a plan for “progressive decommissioning”, which will begin next Thursday (8), with the reopening of schools, shops, gyms and non-essential public buildings opening on April 12. Restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters on May 17th.
In these two countries, even if the return to normality is not yet fully guaranteed, people are celebrating an achievement that was only possible with responsibility. The United Kingdom and Israel had to undergo strict restrictions on social distance, strong preventive campaigns and accelerated mass vaccination.
The Israeli and British authorities are practically unanimous in saying that, without one of the measures, the reopening would not be possible now. In Israel, while vaccination was not progressing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government needed to enact a third lockdown in late December.
In the United Kingdom it was no different: in the face of escalating contagions and an alarming increase in the number of deaths, the government of conservative Boris Johnson decreed a national lockdown on January 14.
With the drop in people’s circulation, mass vaccination – Israel has already vaccinated more than half of the population with both doses and, in the UK, around 50% have already received at least one dose – in addition to strong campaigns to convince the population to taking preventive measures, the numbers of new infected and deaths from Covid-19 have dropped considerably.
Israel recorded 101 deaths in a single day, January 20, according to figures from the Our World in Data panel, with data from Johns Hopkins University. Now, in early April, it has dropped to less than 10 daily deaths, on average. The new cases, which reached almost 12,000 on January 27 alone, are now below 300 a day.
In the United Kingdom, the reduction is also significant. On January 20, there were 1,826 deaths in the 24 hours. Last Saturday (3), the country registered 10 deaths by Covid-19, a reduction of 95%.
The strategy of withdrawing restrictive measures in Israel has been successful. The opening of trade was gradually controlled. At the height of vaccination, the country was almost entirely closed. Relaxation only came when about 4 million people were already immunized, which represents more than 40% of the population.
But those who have a “green passport” still cannot abandon preventive care. The use of masks remains mandatory in public spaces, considering that in Israel children and adolescents cannot be vaccinated and the authorities fear contagion of children under 18 years of age.
The United Kingdom follows the same line. Despite the prediction of the end of all internal restrictions on June 21, the government maintains preventive care measures and has increased the barriers for foreigners to enter the country.
Until June comes, Boris Johnson’s government has published a comprehensive list entitled “Coronavirus Restrictions: What You Can and Can’t Do”, with detailed guidance.
Since March 29, Britons have been able to meet outdoors in groups of a maximum of 6 people, or in a group of any size of up to 2 families. People can participate in formally organized outdoor sports with any number of people and the outdoor sports and leisure facilities have been reopened.
People are forced to wear masks indoors, such as shops and places of worship and on public transport.
The guidance says that “employers and employees should discuss their work plans, and employers should take all possible measures to make it easier for their employees to work from home, including providing IT and adequate equipment to enable remote work”.
In cases where people cannot work from home, the standard says that “employers must take steps to make their workplaces safe and help employees avoid congested public transportation schedules and routes.”
The measures affect practically all areas, such as public transport and the functioning of commerce.
With caution, prevention and vaccine, the British already dream of a summer as it was before the pandemic.
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